Scams: Your guide to staying safe

Worried about being scammed and falling a victim to fraudsters? Here is our guide to scams and how to keep yourself safe.

Scams – What’s the problem?

A scam is a trick, a ruse, a swindle or a racket.  It may not sound like a crime but it is FRAUD and ONLY 5% of these CRIMES are reported.

With the average age of a SCAM victim being 75, older people need to take extra care to prevent being preyed upon by criminals.

How do scams happen?

“Scams make victims part with their money and personal details by intimidating them or promising cash, prizes, services and fictitious high returns on investment.”

National Trading Standards Scams Team (2016)

No matter what type of scam, it is important to remember that ALL scams are CRIMES!

What makes people respond to scams and then fail to report them?

  • Loneliness
  • Vulnerability
  • Isolation
  • Poverty or reduced circumstances
  • Shame

Mass Market Scams

Mass market scams include the use of the internet, phone and post and makes up the largest proportion of fraud in the UK.  It costs UK individuals between £5 and 10 billion a year.

Unfortunately the problem is growing with over half of people aged 65+ believing they have been a target of a scam. Once a victim has responded to a scam, their personal details are shared and sold on to other criminals. Criminals will use this information to …relentlessly target the victim with either scam mail, multiple phone calls, or repeat home visits…

Why older people are targets

  • Isolation/loneliness
  • Financial stability
  • Poor health
  • Fastest growing segment of population
  • Decline in cognitive function can lead to poor decision making.

Types of scam to look  out for

Think you’ve been scammed – what to do next!

Read our tips for staying safe

Advice for victims from West Yorkshire Police

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