An awareness campaign has been launched to help those living in Dudley and Wolverhampton, who are over the age of 55, to tackle the increasing threat of fraud.
The 'Tackling Fraud in Dudley and Wolverhampton' programme is expected to benefit significant numbers of people by giving them free advice and support about how to Spot and Stop fraud.
According to Experian, nearly a quarter of people over 55 were affected by fraud last year. In the West Midlands alone, statistics from Action Fraud show that 58% of people who are victims of Advance Fee Fraud are aged over 50, whilst doorstep sales and bogus tradespeople continue to have the most detrimental impact on their victims.
Age Concern Birmingham have been given funding by fraud and ID experts Experian to lead delivery of the campaign, working with local organisation Fitnniss. The charities will work with Care Homes, Sheltered Housing Providers and as COVID guidelines allow individuals and community groups to provide advice aimed at over 55’s on how to spot fraudulent activity and learn how to stop it happening to them, or people they know or care for. Robert Smith, Project Manager at Age Concern Birmingham, said:
“We are thrilled to be launching this programme in Dudley and Wolverhampton. Fraud seriously impacts the lives of many people and can cause financial difficulty, breakdown in family relationships and a decline in physical and mental health.
"By helping people over the age of 55 understand common scams they are then able to take steps to protect themselves in the future. Whilst fraudsters do not often discriminate when searching for victims, those aged 55 and over often suffer the most.
"This project is a significant step forward to ensuring awareness is being provided in order to equip people with the skills to reduce the risk of them becoming victims of these types of crimes”.
Top tips to help people protect themselves from fraud include:
• Never giving your bank card or PIN to anyone
• Never sending money, or paying fees, to claim prizes or lottery winnings
• Not being afraid to put the phone down to cold callers or to end the call with a brief “No, thank you”
• and, as always, if it seems too good to be true - it probably is!
Anyone who has been affected by fraud should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or by visiting actionfraud.police.uk.
If you work with or support people over 55 either through your work, as a carer, or if you run or attend a social group, you can get involved in the project. The campaign, via a series of online presentations and short talks, provides information to groups and individuals who will learn all the hints and tips about how to spot fraudulent activity and protect themselves from becoming a scammers next victim.
For more information, contact Age Concern Birmingham on 0121 411 9934.