Helping You to Stay Safe - Top Tips for Avoiding Scams

Published: 04/05/2018

Keeping people safe is at the heart of what we do here at Bluebird Care Wandsworth, so here is a handy guide that might just help you or your loved ones to avoid being taken in by a scam.

Scams are on the rise. Although anyone can be the victim of a scam, elderly, vulnerable or isolated people are often targeted – figures from Age UK suggest that over half of people over 65 have lost money to fraudsters, although the real percentage is thought to be even higher. It’s a crime that can be devastating, not just financially but emotionally too. With scammers using ever more sophisticated ways of conning people out of their money, we’re looking at the most common scams and how you can avoid being a victim of fraud.

Common Scams 

Although more traditional scams still exist, advances in technology mean that scammers have moved onto the internet too, giving them even more opportunity to commit fraud. Examples of the most common scams targeting older people include:
  • Phone scams – fraudsters will call or text, often pretending to be contacting you on behalf of a trusted organisation like your bank, the police or a utility provider. They will then ask for money or personal details like passwords and account numbers that will enable them to access your accounts.
  • Postal fraud – from telling you you’ve won an incredible lottery prize or offering a miraculous cure, to threatening you with fake fines or debts, scammers will try any number of devious postal schemes to lure you into parting with your money. Letters often ask the recipient to forward payments or to phone a premium rate number.
  • Doorstep crime – scammers will knock on the door trying to sell a service or goods or asking for help of some kind, like needing to use the phone or have a drink of water. Doorstep fraudsters use different techniques, like convincing patter or intimidation, to try and trick you into paying over the odds for something (or sometimes nothing) or to gain entry into your home to steal money and valuables.
  • Online scams – fake warnings that a virus has infected your computer, copycat websites, emails pretending to be from your bank or other institution, inbox messages claiming to be from a friend who is stranded abroad, or internet dating scams are all used regularly by online criminals. They will often ask you to transfer money, click on a link or phone a number which will then give them access to your private details.

How Can You Avoid Being the Victim of a Scam?

Some top tips for avoiding scams are:
  1. Remember, if it seems to good to be true, it usually is! Be suspicious of unsolicited communications whether they come via email, phone or a knock on the door.
  2. Most people don’t like to seem rude and the scammers play on this. Don’t be afraid to question people, verify their identity, say you need to think about the offer or say no!
  3. Protect your computer by using anti-virus software, never reply to or click on links in emails you’re not sure of and make sure your browser window has the padlock symbol when shopping.
  4. Real banks, utility companies and other similar organisations will never ask you to give out PIN numbers or passwords, so don’t share them with anyone. Be very sure who you’re communicating with if giving out any personal details like your address or date of birth.
  5. Don’t reply to junk mail, it will just lead to mountains more.
  6. If you’re not sure if a communication is genuine, find the person or organisations from an independent source to check if they’re really who they say they are.
  7. If a person or communication seems to be pressurising or threatening you, alarm bells should ring. Don’t be bullied into making a rash decision.
  8. Never agree on the spot to work being done by cold callers or pay for work upfront from an unsolicited trader.
  9. If you think something is suspicious or you have been the victim of a scam, tell someone! Scammers are clever – there’s no shame in admitting that it has happened to you. By reporting it, you can get help to sort out the problems and help stop other people becoming victims of scams.
If you’re worried that you might have been targeted by scammers and want to report it or would like more information on scams and how to protect yourself, organisations like Action Fraud, Take Five to Stop Fraud, the Citizens Advice Bureau and AgeUK can help.

Bluebird Care Wandsworth – Safeguarding Our Customers

At Bluebird Care Wandsworth, we’re committed to keeping our Customers safe in every aspect of their lives. Our homecare and support services allow us to build trusted relationships, encourage open communication and see the person on a regular basis, which can reduce the risk of the person becoming an easy target for scammers.

If you think a loved-one could benefit from a bit of extra help to live more comfortably at home, give us a call to talk about our tailored domiciliary care, or contact us with your query online.