Tracey has received information that there has been a dramatic increase in scams to defraud the vulnerable and the elderly.
The Police have warned Ofcom of a phone scam where fraudsters use courier firms to help defraud elderly and vulnerable victims of their life savings.
Over the past two years ‘Courier Fraud’ has claimed 2,229 victims, most of whom were elderly. Police estimate that consumers have been defrauded out of millions of pounds, with one victim alone losing £155,000.
Police are now asking friends and family of the elderly to make them aware of the scam, how it works and what to do if they are targeted. More detail on the scam can be found here: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2013/03/police-warning-over-bank-card-ourier-scam/
Scammers are using the economic climate to prey on people who are struggling to find work or battling with money problems. Opportunistic con artists are targeting people who are unemployed with offers of fake jobs, training and debt scams. New figures reveal over 22,000 reports of scams were made to the Citizens Advice service in England and Wales over the last 12 months.
Scam advice for consumers
It is estimated that UK consumers lose about £3.5 billion to scams each year. However, there are a number of steps consumers can take to protect themselves, for example:
- Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
- Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to businesses that should already hold your details.
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
- If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No thank you.”
- Resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
- Never send money to someone you don’t know.
Ofcom have also published a consumer guide to scams with practical advice and contact details to report potential scams. A copy of which can be found at the following link; http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2012/09/scams-logo.pdf
Tracey urges people to inform their elderly and vulnerable friends and relatives to follow this advice. Anyone who has been effected by a scam, please contact the police immediately.