Eastover resident Glen Burrows is actively involved in the Bridgwater Senior Citizens Forum and has sent us this report of their January meeting.
“One of the reasons that pensioners are a regular target for scams and fraud is that they are too polite, as well as being more likely to have savings”, said Nick Hubbard, Research & Campaigns Officer for Sedgemoor Citizens’ Advice, at the January meeting of Bridgwater Senior Citizens’ Forum.
Financial fraud by internet, email, telephone, letter and doorstep is a growth industry, with 1200 new types of scam reported in 2018, and an average loss to victims of £330. The South West is one of the most-targeted areas in the UK.
New ways of conning people out of their hard-earned cash are constantly being devised and, in Avon and Somerset, less than 1% of such crimes are detected. It is therefore vital for individuals to be constantly vigilant – and, of course, much ruder!
Don’t be afraid to put the phone down on an unsolicited call – even if the caller has a posh voice and claims to be from your bank! Or, ask the caller to hold on while you answer the door , and don’t return to the phone – that might prevent someone else from being a victim! Never open unwanted and unrecognised emails – your best friend is unlikely to ask you to send £1000 by bank transfer to the other side of the world. Remember that the internet allows people to pretend to be anyone they want to be, and to hack other people’s accounts..
Protect yourself from fraud by refusing to be rushed into making a decision: a genuine caller won’t mind calling again. Don’t share personal information – a genuine bank would never ask you to email bank details.
Above all, be prepared to be rude: shut the door in the face of someone who refuses to leave your doorstep, and call the police; put the phone down on someone who asks you to verify your identity by calling them back; and never download attachments from suspicious emails.
Report fraud to www.actionfraud.police or call 0300 123 2040
And watch out fraudsters! Bridgwater pensioners are planning to fight back!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 01278 450562
You can find out more about Bridgwater Senior Citizens Forum here.