“The elderly are at greater risk of scams”
Fiona Richardson is the Chief Officer for Trading Standards Scotland and she deals with serious criminality such as doorstep crime and the operation of organised scams.
What is scamming?
Scams are an attempt from people to take money from people through a range of platforms.
What are the main areas of scamming?
In our view, scams are delivered in four different ways; over the phone, door-to-door, online (primarily emails and pop up adverts), and mail.
How do scammers gather contact details?
People share personal data much more easily now than they used to. We always tell people to be much more aware of sharing information on social media. Always opt out of data sharing after completing online surveys or forms.
What age group in particular is likely to fall victim of a scam?
Anyone can fall victim to a scam. Having said this, it has been demonstrated that generally, the elderly are more susceptible to scams. There would appear to be evidence to suggest that scammers do target them.
Why do you think the elderly are likely to respond to a scam?
Quite often they feel lonely and isolated so this becomes their contact with the outside world. Scammers often know what to say or do to get people on board.
How can someone avoid being scammed?
Do not respond or open (when in email) to any junk/nonsense mails. If you ever respond your name is likely to end up on something termed a ‘suckers list’. This will increase greatly the amount of nonsense calls, emails, and letters you receive. Also look out for the volume of junk mail (including calls) you receive, as this may suggest you have responded to a scam.
What should someone do if they think they have received scam mail?
The best advice I can offer would be, if you’re ever in doubt, phone the company or organisation the letter or email is claiming to be from. I would also say, keep in mind that it’s very unlikely that places such as your bank, tax office, or other official bodies would contact you by email asking for bank details or money. If you ever have any doubts it’s also worth doing a quick Google check to see if there is any background knowledge on this. The chances are if it looks to good to be true, it is.