At a recent meeting of the Tendring Older People’s Forum, members discussed the alarming rise in incidents of fraud. Jean Allen from Home Instead who was guest speaker at the Forum, illustrated how older people were particularly vulnerable to scams and in many cases are facing a daily onslaught. People are under constant attack through the post, telephone, email and door to door callers. “Fraudsters play on our weaknesses” she stated and went on to describe the ways in which salesman can persuade people to give them money. She said “They are very good at their job and target us according to our weak points such as those who may have early onset dementia, those who are lonely or those in need of extra income. They either play on people’s emotions or are aware that many are too busy to read the small print”. Jean described the “suckers list” which is a list of vulnerable people’s contact details which is being passed around companies in order to take money from vulnerable people.
Fraudsters adopt many kinds of ways to attract people. For example through competitions and ‘free prize draws’ where people are asked to send money to get to the next stage of the competition. Everyone was asked to ‘think Jessica’. This woman’s plight was reported in the national press as she was found to have received 30,000 letters over 2 years and ended up paying out £3,000 per month. People who have been defrauded lose their confidence dramatically. Another scam is where an email is sent appealing for help for a relative or friend who is stuck in another country and need help and this should be ignored. Or it could be that a missed telephone call prompts the householder to use the call back service and are then charged £50 on their telephone bill. There are swindlers who target an older persons house by offering to fix a broken gate or mow the lawn and build up the relationship so they become ‘friends’ only to cheat on the person later on. There have been many examples of theft through fraud in the press and people should use this as an example of how it could happen to any one of us. Jean Allen said individuals must ensure they protect themselves and this can be achieved in a number of ways. Through caller identification on the phone or use a screen/block calls service. “Don’t answer calls that you don’t recognise” she said. It is essential that people increase their IT skills as most services now are automated and computerised.
The Forum members discussed the problems facing local people and agreed that there needs to be constant awareness raising and all organisations should be sharing this information with their clients and members.
There will be two opportunities to learn more about how to spot fraud and how to build up protection at the following FREE events:
2.00pm on Tuesday 28 April 2015 in Sam’s Hall, 22 Rosemary Road, Clacton on Sea or
2.00pm on Wednesday 29 April 2015 at Soken House, the Triangle, Frinton on Sea.
Contact Jean Allen, Home Instead to book a place by calling 01255 672269 or email email@example.com
The Tendring Older People’s Forum exists to bring together representatives from local organisations who provide support services for older people. The aim is to share information, network, raise issues of concern and make recommendations for service delivery. To continually seek the views of older people and to promote older people being treated with respect and dignity. To raise awareness of the conditions which most affect older people and to promote active lifestyles.
Further information about the forum can be found at http://www.cvstendring.org.uk/our-services/tendring-older-peoples-forum.html or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01255 425692. Wally Bensilum is the Chairman of the Forum and CVST provide the administration and secretarial service.