It doesn’t matter what they are called. We’ve all heard of Scammers, con artists, rogue traders and tricksters but the fact is they are all committing fraud.
Fraud can take many forms and any of us could be victims but it is increasingly clear that older people are at special risk to certain types of scam. They are targeted for various reasons but many are due to personal circumstances such as loneliness, cognitive impairment, money problems and bereavement.
Fraudsters use a wide range of methods to extract money from potential victims and whether it is online, by phone, by mail or if they knock on the door the consequences can be severe and long lasting.
Some of the most vulnerable people in our society are being targeted, their lives blighted by constant harassment and we need to work together to stamp it out. There are steps we can all take to make sure older people we know or live near us don’t fall victim to these criminals.
Detective Sergeant Marc Milliner said:
‘Scammers are devious and prey on the vulnerable to commit fraud. It’s vital that we get the message across to older people that if approached on the doorstep, by mail, online or over the phone then it’s ok to say no. Never feel pressured, allow yourself time to think. If they really are who they say they are then they will be happy to wait to be checked out.
‘Its important people know that the police or banks or even fraud investigators will never ask you to transfer your money, buy high value goods or hand over cards or money. Please never give out your personal banking details, these will never be asked for by the police or banks.
‘If you have an elderly relative or neighbour it may be worth checking in on them. Have the conversation about checking with you or someone they trust before doing anything with regards to their personal details or money.
Fraud is an under reported crime especially when you consider that victims are often in denial or unaware it has happened. We are focusing our work on identifying and supporting vulnerable victims of fraud and urge people to look out for signs of a scam and report it as soon as possible.’
These figures demonstrate the impact of fraud on Avon and Somerset during January 2017:
Keep your money safe with these tips: