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Latest scams, pushy callers and other threats to vulnerable people

protecting older people from fraud, scams and burglaries

While not wanting this to be a depressing read, we do want to highlight the latest ways that nefarious people are trying to relieve people – especially older people – of their money and goods.

  1. The car park ticket robbery. This has been happening a lot around here, again and again in the same car parks. The miscreant approaches the victim as they start to use the ticket machine and tell them that the machine is playing up but that they can help. They then take the card from the owner to ‘help’ and in no time at all the victim’s bank account is missing a considerable sum.
  2. The keysafe break in. This is a new one on me, but prospective burglars have been seen on home CCTV trying to break into keysafes, usually used by carers and family to access a door key to let themselves into a house where the occupant has limited mobility.
  3. The sadly inevitable scams springing up around the Ukraine crisis. There are many genuine groups collecting for this cause, but it can be difficult to differentiate those from the frauds. We suggest donating via a major organisation that you know to be real.
  4.  TV licensing scam. People are reporting receiving emails suggesting that if they do not update their details, their TV licence will be suspended. Ignoring the email seems to cause no harm.
  5. Selling medical alert devices. People are receiving phone calls advising them that if they fit the criteria they could be eligible for a free NHS alert device. This may be true, but a caller who then pushes for information about who lives at the address before trying to sell the service is someone to avoid.
  6. A new way to scam Amazon customers. While there are already numerous fake Amazon emails in existence, the latest suggests that the recipient’s account has been locked, and all orders are being held up pending cancellation. Emails like this need to be studied carefully as they do look genuine. Check for typos, words that just don’t make sense, and hover over the sender’s email address, which will probably not be anything to do with Amazon.
  7. WhatsApp scam. This is proving to be very plausible. People are receiving WhatsApp messages from a number claiming to their child or grandchild in need of an urgent money transfer. They say they’ve lost their phone and have borrowed someone else’s to send the message. You can listen to Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey Police, talk about this scam on BBC Radio Sussex.

Some wise advice

It’s not very catchy but some police forces are highlighting their WIDE(N) campaign to protect homes against burglars. This focuses on:

  • Keeping windows locked
  • Putting interior lights on a timer/smart bulb
  • Double or deadlocking doors
  • Putting exterior lights on a sensor
  • Keeping an eye out for your neighbours

This guide to financial literacy on Finty has more advice about avoiding fraud and staying safe online.

More on scams and vulnerabilities to watch out for:

Latest on phishing scams and other tales of dastardly behaviour

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

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