“The el­derly are at greater risk of scams”

No. 1 Magazine - - EDINBURGH -

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.

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