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National awareness campaign urges over 70s to beat scams

People across Staffordshire are being advised how to spot the signs of scams and report them during the final week of a national awareness month.

Every week throughout July, the Scams Awareness Month 2017 campaign has focused on different age groups and the types of scams they’re more likely to fall victim to. This final week, it focuses on people over 70 – who may be more susceptible to phone and postal scams and doorstep crime than other age groups.

Scams Awareness Month has been informing people of the types and extent of con tricks which pose a threat to people’s finances and wellbeing. The county council wants people to spot tell-tale signs online, on the phone, through the post or on the doorstep. Led by Citizen’s Advice and backed by trading standards teams, the campaign is reminding people to take a moment and trust their gut instinct so that they get advice, report scams and tell others about their experiences.

Tips to avoid falling victim to scams include:
• Say no to unwanted, uninvited callers
• Be wise to rogue traders. Too good to be true offers probably are.
• Don’t feel pressured to make a decision. Say “no”, or say you need advice first.
• Be wise to postal scams. No legal company will ask for money to claim a prize.
• Keep personal details safe. They could be used fraudulently in the wrong hands.
• Research the credentials of the company. Be certain they’re not bogus.
• Be online savvy. Check who you’re communicating with online.
• Talk to someone you trust if you’re suspicious.
• Report a scam and help expose the criminals.
• Know you are not alone. Anyone can be a victim, report it and get the right support.

Each year millions of people in the UK fall prey to scammers though it is thought less than five per cent report them. In addition to the financial cost, scams also cause emotional trauma and loss of confidence to victims.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

Scams cause a huge amount of misery to people and criminals will try any method to defraud their victims. We want to make people aware of the many different types of scam so people can more easily identify them. During this final week of the campaign, we’re urging the over 70s and their families to look out for scams and how to deal with them. While all ages can fall victim to scams, it is the over 70s who may be more likely to be targeted by postal scams, phone scams and doorstep crime.
“Importantly, we want people to have the confidence to take their time and not be rushed into decisions they may regret. We would always advise that if something appears too good to be true then it usually is, but we understand many scams appear genuine. If people are in any doubt at all they should ignore the offer, hang up the phone or politely refuse doorstep calls. People should always be wary about an unsolicited approach.”

Common scams include doorstep double glazing sales, online investment offers, bogus bank calls asking for personal details, online job adverts asking for an upfront fee, offers for goods and services and fake prize draw winnings.

People can find out more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or from the national consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.