How to protect the elderly from being scammed
In this installment, I will provide some simple steps you can take to protect you and elderly family members from falling victim to the many different types of scams that defraud 3.2 million people in the UK each year.
Use the rule of thumb:
A simple rule of thumb is to “never provide information in a phone call that you did not initiate” – this includes personal information or agreeing to give money over the phone.
Protect your financial and personal information:
Never give your personal or bank account details to someone you don't know. Keep important personal documents, plastic cards and chequebooks in a safe and secure place, and never email your financial information, even if you know the person you are emailing. If you're sending personal information online, make sure the website address starts https, not http.
Create tricky passwords:
Longer passwords with a mix of letters and digits are hard to guess. Change passwords regularly and don't share them with anyone.
Give support with mail:
Ask your elderly relative or friend to gather together the post so that you can help them sort through it when you are there. Identify a place where the person can keep the mail together to prompt them to wait for you to help them.
Get rid of important documents:
Shred documents that could be useful to criminals, including bank statements, credit card statements and other financial information. Important documents such as tax returns and car documentation should be stored in a safe place, out of sight.
Don’t open unusual looking emails:
If you get mail that looks like a scam email, don’t reply to the email, and don’t click on any links in the email or open any attachments. If you have already clicked on a link and opened a website, don’t give any personal information out.
Neighbourhood Alert Service:
Some areas may operate a Neighbourhood Alert Service, which is used by police and Trading Standards to circulate messages about doorstep crime and scams. Register for free at www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk
If you think that someone has been scammed or is at risk of being scammed, make sure to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 20 40 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.
We hope you found these tips useful.
I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future topic, please write to me at [email protected] or by post to Home Instead,6 Shirley House, 31 Psalter Lane Sheffield S11 8YL
Alternatively, you can also call me on 01142 507709