DEMENTIA SCAMS

/ 13 January 2019

Whether it is via post, a phone call, an email or a trader on your doorstep, scams are everywhere. The Money Advice Service reports that, in the UK, there are eight scam calls every second, totaling 240 million annual calls. These calls can result in devastating financial and psychological consequences if an individual is unable to identify the scam.

Criminals tend to target the vulnerable elderly, and the average age of a scam victim is 75. Victims’ details are circulated between scammers on “sucker lists,” resulting in cases of people being targeted dozens of times per day from various scamming parties. Where the victim is elderly and lonely, scammers befriend them in order to earn their trust before encouraging them to part with their savings.

Ruth spoke to Paul Evitts whose mother, Barbara, was tricked by scammers into spending thousands of pounds on health products over a five-year period. In October 2018, he discovered hundreds of boxes of health remedies, mostly vitamins and Omega 3 supplements at Barbara’s house. Eventually, when Paul gained access to his mother’s bank account there was just £33 left. In total, over the years, Barbara had been scammed out of £22,000.

Ruth also spoke to Bernadette Lawrie BEM, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer about dementia crime and protecting our loved ones.

And Marilyn Baldwin OBE from the charity Think Jessica gave also gave us a statement:

Think Jessica’s belief is that education is the best form of protection. The charity generates awareness through booklets, leaflets and a film. Along with awareness-raising events, Think Jessica organises national poster campaigns, which have been displayed on billboards in train stations, supermarkets and shopping centres nationally.

To find out more about Think Jessica, please visit www.thinkjessica.com/

To find out more about Operation Signature, please visit sussex.police.uk/advice/protect-yourself-and-others/fraud/operation-signature/

If you’d like to seek advice from ActionFraud about dementia scams, please visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us

If you’d like to seek advice from AgeUK about dementia scams, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk

If you’d like to find out more about the Little Book of Big Scams, visit: www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The-Little-Book-of-Big-Scams-–-Third-Edition.pdf