Staying Scam Aware in North Somerset

Learn how to stay scam aware, and read what Home Instead Weston super Mare are doing to help train the community!

Have you ever picked up the phone to find someone on the other end asking you for money or your bank details? This is, scarily, a very common experience nowadays and sadly it is the elderly and most vulnerable that are the biggest targets for these scammers.

According to Citizen’s Advice: “In the first 6 months of June 2021 More than two thirds of adults (36 million) had been targeted by a scammer.

While over 55s are most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under are almost five times more likely to fall victim to a scam than their older counterparts, the charity can reveal.

Younger people were most likely to be targeted by text or messaging service (61%), while those over 55 were most likely to be targeted over the phone (73%).”

Here at Home Instead Weston super Mare, our Managing Director, Mike Keig has been providing free to attend Scam Awareness Workshops for elderly members of our community for a few years now. Since he started providing these workshops, Mike has trained over 500 vulnerable people to be scam aware and what to do if they do fall victim to a scam.

Mike has put on workshops all over Weston, including at our very own monthly Memory Café at the Hobbs Boat, at a community social group at the For All Healthy Living Centre, for the Western Active Stroke Group at Worlebury Golf Course, and for residents at Assisted Living facilities, Madeira Court and Fussells Court.

Mike’s workshop covers various types of scams, including bank scams, phishing scams, doorstep fraud, telephone, internet and email scams as well.

To help avoid falling victim to a scam, the Home Instead network recommends these tips:

  • Shred documents that could be useful to criminals, including bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial information. Important documents should be stored in a safe place and out of sight when not in use.
  • Add your name to the national Mail Preference Service (MPS) and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) registers.
  • Always hang up the phone if you receive a cold call. Do not feel guilty about hanging up, it is often difficult to recognise a scam and it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are not expecting the call, it is likely to be a scam.
  • Use the rule of thumb 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.
  • Place a “no cold calling” notice in a prominent place by your front door. Some areas may operate a neighbourhood alert service, which is used by police and trading standards to circulate messages about door stop crime and scams. Register for free at www neighbourhoodalert.co.uk
  • Ask a family member or friend to help sort through your post if you are not sure which letters are genuine and require action.
  • Remember to educate anyone you come across about the different kinds of scams and who to call if they think they have been scammed. The more we talk about it, the easier it will be to recognise scams and to feel confident in reporting them.
  • Watch out for individuals who claim to be volunteers. Lonely or isolated people are particularly vulnerable to criminals. Be wary of accepting help from someone you do not already know, who isn’t part of a professional organisation.
  • If you feel your memory or judgement may be starting to decline, look into appointing a family member or good friend as a lasting power of attorney. This is particularly important if you require help with organising your finances later in life. It will also protect you from scammers who try to get access to your bank details or cheque book.
  • Remember, your bank will NEVER call you and ask for your account details, or ask you to transfer money over the phone. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up immediately!
  • Be aware of suspicious emails. Tell tale signs they are from scammers are spelling errors, addressing you as ‘customer’ instead of by name, and asking you to take an action such as clicking a link or opening an attachment. Do not reply to these emails or click anything contained in them.

If you think you have been scammed, or would like information or support about what to do if you are scammed then please call one of the following:

If you are part of a club, group or organization and would like to book Mike to come along and put on a workshop for you, the please call us on 01934 526892.