Donna Pierpoint is the manager of Sheffield’s renowned Broomgrove Nursing Home. She has 20 years experience in the sector, a decade of those as care home manager.
Crime Commissioner Alan Billings recently came to talk to our residents about how to tackle the growing problem of scam phone calls.
Quite a few of our residents have their own landlines and have received junk phone calls in the past. They have now all registered with the phone preference service to stop the marketing calls and they know what to watch out for. But they are, sadly, in a minority.
We have a growing elderly population, they are vulnerable and need to be alert to possible scams, especially ones made over the phone. Fraudsters target the elderly and even have to guts to pretend to be the Police, Council or Bank. They are convincing, conniving and are likely to come armed with information that makes them seem tototally genuine.
A 65-year old gentleman was scammed out of £12,000 recently. The fraudster purchased an 0845 number and stated he was from their bank. He left the number with the victim which, when dialled, was diverted to the scammer’s mobile phone. During the conversation the scammer managed to get the victim to divulge bank details, security information and PIN. The scammer then persuaded the victim that their account was at risk and a courier would be arranged to collect his bank card.
You may have read that and wondered why the gentleman didn’t suspect any harm, but these scammers can be very clever and so convincing that an elderly person could easily think it was genuine.
What can we do to help stop these con men and women robbing our elderly relatives?
They can sign up with the Telephone Preference Service to prevent marketing phone calls. Contact 0845 070 0707, or go to www.tpsonline.org.uk.
We must also ensure they never give out personal details over the phone; never send money to anyone they don’t know; don’t open the door to someone they don’t know; always ask who they are speaking to and verify the information by calling a company’s head office.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers are clever, they will do their homework and will often know huge amounts of information about the people they are targeting.
For more information, contact South Yorkshire Police and ask for ‘The Little Book of Big Scams’. This booklet has invaluable information on all kinds of scams and how to avoid them.