You will no doubt be aware of the numerous ‘scams’ and schemes that are circulating these days in an attempt to part people from their money, possessions, and private information. It seems there is hardly a day that goes by without an unsolicited phone call or junk mail through the letter box, with new scams being created all the time and criminals inventing ever more underhanded ways to get at our personal details.
Unfortunately, criminals and scammers are now also using their scams to specifically target older people. We have previously written about the need for older people, and their family and friends, to be more scam aware to help limit the damage and distress that can be caused by these illegal scams.
In the interest of this, Home Instead Swansea would like to make everyone aware of a recent scam that is circulating in the area. A number of residents in the Swansea area have been receiving phone calls where someone has asked them if they would like to purchase a Sainsbury’s shopping voucher worth £100. Following this phone call, someone will then call at their home and exchange the voucher for a tax refund cheque for £4660.91. This is scam designed to encourage people to pay out money for something they will not be getting in return.
While this scam is affecting a number of residents in the Swansea area, it is certainly one that can have a profound effect on the elderly members of our communities. Sadly, elderly people are usually the more vulnerable members of our communities, and the criminals exacting these scams will take advantage of that. As elderly people are more likely to be retired and at home during the day, they are more likely to pick up the phone or answer the door at this time. Additionally, elderly people can experience feelings of loneliness and depression, and criminals will use this to their advantage by acting as a ‘friend’ and building false trust. Criminals may also try to confuse older people with modern technology and false terminologies in order to get them to more easily agree with something.
There are a number of things that can be done to deter scammers and help to maintain the safety and peace of mind of any elderly people you may know. For example, always make a note of when the bill payments are due, as well as the number they might use to call you, so you can ensure not to give information to anyone calling from an unusual number. You should also never reply to unsolicited mail, or invite unfamiliar sales persons into your home. It is also crucial to remember that no-one should ever ask for your PIN number over the phone, and numbers that begin with 0871 or 0872 are premium rate numbers that are extremely costly to call back.
If you think you have been targeted by any kind of scam, or would like more information about how to protect yourself from them, it is important to get in touch with the right people.
You can contact Swansea Trading Standards here:
Tel: 01792 635600
You can also find out who your local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) is by going online to www.ourbobby.com or calling your local police station, and reporting any incidents to them. Your local PCSO will also be able to provide you with stickers to place on your door or window stating you do not want ‘cold callers’ at your property.