With the challenge that the coronavirus pandemic is presenting to everybody, but in particular for older people, it is clear that protection against scams and fraud is now more important than ever. We have already seen evidence that ‘scammers’ have started to exploit the situation and so Age Concern Birmingham have developed a simple toolkit to share advice and guidance around fraud awareness.
As part of this, we want to share some key messages around this, as follows:
Be alert to the warning signs:
- pushy and persuasive salesmen
- offers that have restricted time offers
- are you being asked for personal information?
- being asked for large amounts of money up front
- are they based overseas? does their telephone number work?
- Always take your time, don’t be rushed into making a commitment & becoming a victim of fraud and get a second opinion from friends, family or neighbours.
- Fraud can take many forms, some of them sophisticated. Do not feel foolish if you fall victim to it. It can happen to anyone but it’s important you report the incident to help stop it happening again or to someone else.
- Never give your details (name, address, bank details or PIN) to anyone.
- You don’t have to pay money to get money – if you’re asked to, it’s probably a scam!
Practical tips and advice:
- be suspicious of pushy/persuasive salesmen and requests for money up-front. Ask if there is a ‘cooling-off’ period.
- if you cannot contact them without them contacting you, do not proceed.
- if you receive an unsolicited call and/or they claim to be from your bank or the police and request your PIN or personal information shut down the communications & contact Action Fraud (see contact details below)
- never share your PIN with anyone – the only times you should use your PIN is at a cash machine or at shop’s chip and PIN machine.
- opt out of unsolicited calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service on 0345 070 0707
- never send money to anyone you don’t know or pay fees, however small, to claim prizes or lottery winnings.
- remove your name from direct mailing lists by calling MPS on 0207 291 3310
- never let an unknown person in to your house, always ask for ID.
- the virtual world is like the real world, you still need to take your time, think twice and make necessary checks
To report a fraud or for advice/information visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040