William Eichler 16 January 2019

Council chiefs warn of scams targeting the vulnerable

Local authority leaders have called on carers and families to be aware of fraud targeting older and more vulnerable people.

A report by Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has revealed that those suffering from a physical disability or a mental health issue are ‘more susceptible’ to fraud.

People aged 60 and over, and those suffering from loneliness, are also likely to fall victim to fraud, the report says.

The study warns of the dangers of dating scams where criminals exploit someone’s wish for companionship, as well as advance fee fraud.

It also details the risks of doorstep traders who defraud vulnerable people by demanding payment for non-existent services.

‘We work tirelessly to understand the threat from these frauds in order to stop this from happening in the future,’ said the director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith.

‘Fraudsters are cruelly targeting the most vulnerable people in our society to make them part with their cash and personal details. 

‘It is vital that you are aware of these frauds and how to spot them and if you think you, or a friend or family member, has been a victim, report it to Action Fraud.’

Responding to the report, Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘Fraud, including scams, is now the most common type of crime in the country with more than two scams and attempted scams being reported to some councils every day.

‘Carers, families and neighbours need to look out for older and disabled people as they are more likely to be at risk of losing their life savings and suffer deteriorating health after falling victim to scam letters and phone calls and doorstep fraudsters.

‘This is why councils, despite resource and funding pressures, continue to promote devices which block unwanted phone calls, are setting up “No cold calling zones” to deter rogue doorstep traders and are helping victims of scams get their money back from fraudsters through Proceeds of Crime hearings.’

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