Charity issues scam advice for the elderly during Scam Awareness Month

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THIS week The News is highlighting different types of scams, and as June is Scams Awareness Month, charity Age UK has issued advice about how vulnerable, old people can stay safe.

In the newspaper and online this week, The News will be giving advice to residents about how to protect themselves, as well as promoting an MP-organised event in Gosport.

Age UK understands that older people are often vulnerable to scams and are increasingly likely to be targeted by fraudsters.

Recent research from the charity found that more than 43 per cent of older people – almost five million people aged 65 and over – believe they have been targeted by scammers.

Fraud rates have increased year-on-year. Last month The News reported pensioner Mary Bartlett (not her real name) was duped into taking out an £8,000 loan by cold-callers to pay for ‘legal fees’ to end her timeshare agreement.

Age UK has created a range of advice to help older people and their families spot and avoid the latest scams targeting their money.

Age UK’s top tips for avoiding scams are:

n Don’t rush into anything. Scammers try to rush people into making quick decisions by claiming that a great offer or investment is time-limited.

n Make sure the company is reputable. Before you commit to buying, check the seller. Does the company have a contact number that works and a postal address, and is it a member of a trade association? Financial companies must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

n If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ignore letters, emails or phone calls offering a brilliant investment or saying you’ve won a lottery. Remember, if you haven’t entered a lottery then you can’t have won it.

n Stay safe online. If you use a computer, don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and ignore any phone calls that say your computer has a problem or a virus, as this is a scam.

n Be aware of new pension scams. Now that people have more freedom to access their pension cash, fraudsters have developed new scams to trick people out of their retirement savings. Be cautious of anyone that claims to know about loopholes, talks about overseas investments, or says you can get your money before the age of 55.

Call Age UK 0800 169 65 65 or visit ageuk.org.uk/scams for more details.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is holding a Scam Smart event at Thorngate Halls, Bury Road, tomorrow between 1.30pm and 4pm.