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WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS

Care Scams in Exeter.

Keeping an eye out for scams about care or support can be a difficult task. People can often be easily tricked by fraudsters into giving over money, savings or even property. Whilst you may think that this would not happen to you or your relative, it is important to be aware of the possibility.

Criminals can be convincing and invent sophisticated ways to get you to trust them. Anybody, regardless of age, can be conned. However, these scammers tend to target particular groups of people.

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WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS

Who Is Targeted?

Recent research has shown that the elderly are more at risk of scammers than others because of how they are viewed. Criminals see those who are older as having more money, being polite and easy to manipulate, isolated, and more likely to forget details.

Those with learning disabilities are often targeted, as scammers believe that they can be easily influenced and may not have the capacity to ask questions about what they are being sold.

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Examples of Common Scams

Preparing yourself against these scams is important and is easier when you know the most common scams that take place. These include:

Bank Scams

These are often carried out over the phone or via email, with a criminal pretending to be your bank or building society. Normally they will suggest that there is an issue with your account and that they need to confirm some information about you. If a person is asking for personal details over the phone, you should hang up immediately. Banks would never ask for details such as your name, address, or payment details over the phone or by email.

If the individual suggests that you call them back, it is still part of a scam. They won’t hang up their phone and therefore still be connected to you phoneline to listen in to conversations you conduct after this point.

It is important that you never disclose your PIN to anybody and do not provide bank details to cold callers or unknown emails.

Eating Out

Sometimes people can pose as bank staff and phone restaurants, pretending that there is a fault with the credit card payment system. These criminals encourage the restaurant to get customers to pay over the phone. If this happens to you, you should never disclose any bank details over the phone.

Healthcare Equipment and Insurance Scams

Scammers often suggest that they can promise medical equipment that is free. They may also bill insurance for fake services or tests that were never carried out. Avoid signing any blank insurance claim forms or doing business with phone or door-to-door salespeople.

Buy Now, Pay Later

Criminals charge excessively for services or products, so if something is more expensive than you thought it would be this is a sure sign that something is not right. These details are usually placed within the small print to make them harder to be found.

A way of preventing this is to buy products from companies that are reputable and where a signed and written agreement is provided.

Lucky Winner

Being told that you’ve won a prize or free holiday can be exciting, but it is important to watch out for scams. Most scams will tell you to act fast and require you to pass over card or bank details over the phone or online. Others will suggest that you need to ring a number which in reality will charge you a premium rate for calling.

If you have won a prize genuinely you will never have to hand over any money, provide personal details, or call a premium number.

Debt Recovery or Legal Services

Cold callers leave messages stating that a debt recovery agency, legal service, or financial advisor is claiming a large amount of money from you. They tend to add pressure and urgency by suggesting that you need to do something about the money owed as soon as possible. An alternative is that they offer you financial protection from debt collections, but this should not be believed.

You should never respond to cold calls or divulge any of your personal details.

Spiritual or Religious

If somebody approaches you posing as a psychic or spiritual leader and asks for a sum of money, chances are they are not genuine. They will normally offer you a way of contacting loved ones that have passed away or protecting your family. Asking for regular payments is a usual trick used by these scammers, so it is one to look out for.

Checking with a friend or family member before parting with money is always a good idea as they can provide advice and guidance. If you have concerns about a relative, then it may be worth asking if their post can be redirected to your address.

Electoral Register

As a list that contains names and address, the electoral register is a great place for scammers to find your information. We are all legally required to register otherwise we may face a fine. However, councils have been known to sell this information on to an open register for anybody to view, including scammers.

If you are worried about this happening, contact your local Electoral Registry Office to inform them that you do not want your details appearing on the open register.

WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS

What Else Can I Do?

There are a few things you can look out for when it comes to scams. Typically a promise of free items or a holiday are not genuine, and if they ask for money then you can be sure there is nothing real about it. Scammers like to use catalogues sent in the post to entice orders by offering free gifts and prizes that never materialise. Getting advice from others before buying anything is a great way of preventing you from paying for things that you do not need or will never receive.

If you would like to stop unwanted marketing calls, then you can register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It is a legal requirement that telemarketers do not call those who are registered with the TPS after 28 days. The charity Think Jessica are also another source of useful information. They make it their aim to protect elderly and vulnerable people from scams via phone or post. Their website contains help and advice on how to deal with scammers as well as real life experiences.

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For more on scams and protection against them, call today on 01392 426 340.

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