Campaign to stop elderly falling victim to scams

09:45 20 February 2014

Archant

A campaign urging families to make sure elderly relatives know how to avoid being scammed has been launched by an East Devon care provider.

Home Instead, based in Budleigh Salterton, says criminals using email, telephone and post to lure their victims into parting with cash or personal information can see the elderly as easy targets.

Fraudsters made off with an estimated £3.5billion in the UK last year, and to help fight this Home Instead has produced a Senior Fraud Protection Kit.

Its national campaign has also teamed up with charity Think Jessica, which helps raise awareness of scams, supports victims, and is working closely with Action Fraud.

Home Instead director Mark McGlade said: “These crimes often have very serious consequences for elderly people. Devastating emotional distress and loss of confidence and trust can lead to a loss of independence.

“The sad thing is that much of this could be avoided with better awareness and education.”

One family, which asked to remain anonymous, is supporting the campaign after their elderly parents in Sidmouth were repeatedly targeted.

The couple’s daughter said: “For the last two years my mum and dad, both in their eighties, have been writing cheques amounting to over £2,000 per month to organised criminals claiming to be charities or selling ‘too good to be true’ special offers, prize winnings or medicines which claim to cure their ailments and chronic conditions.

“My parents both have dementia and are powerless to prevent the hundreds of letters and phone calls a month they receive trying to extort money.

“They believe that they are buying genuine medicines but they are fakes and could potentially harm them.

“We need to educate everyone in the community to look out for their elderly loved ones and most vulnerable in the community.”

The Senior Fraud Protection Kit contains information on the most common scams, tools to help assess the risk of an elderly loved one, and checklists to help seniors take practical action to lower the risk of falling victim to a scam.

The kit is available by contacting the company’s office in Budleigh Salterton or via the Home Instead Senior Care website under the Information and Resources tab.

For more information call 01395 200600.

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