The Wales Against Scams Partnership (WASP), whose members include Age Cymru, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, and trading standards, is using Scams Awareness Month to highlight the nature and impact of scams within communities across Wales.
Scams against older and vulnerable people can take many forms, with criminals targeting individuals via the post, over the telephone and door-to-door. Recent years have also seen a significant increase in scams and fraud perpetrated via the internet.
The cost of these scams is not simply financial: victims often suffer a loss of confidence, self-esteem and peace of mind and in many cases feel a sense of shame, which can lead to a failure to report crimes of this nature – figures show that less than 5% of victims report scams to the authorities. The impact of scams can, quite simply, blight the rest of an individual’s life.
Ian Thomas, Age Cymru's Chief Executive and Chair of WASP, said:
“During Scams Awareness Month, it is vital that people gain a greater awareness of scams and the impact that these can have on people’s lives. This will help our communities to be more vigilant and help to prevent scams that are targeted at older and vulnerable people.
“There is much good work under way to prevent scams, but I believe that more needs to be done to protect people from the callous scammers who blight the lives of many of their victims. It is vital that the opportunities for scammers are removed and that Wales becomes a scam free country.”
In addition to raising awareness about scams and their impact, WASP is also currently developing the UK’s first anti-scammers charter. Due to be launched in the autumn, the charter will help to protect older and vulnerable people across Wales from financial fraud.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, said:
“Despite much good work across Wales, scams are still a growing issue for older and vulnerable people and can have a devastating impact on their lives.
“By bringing together key organisations across the public, private and third sectors to not only raise awareness within our communities about the nature and impact of scams, but also to develop practical tools like the anti-scammers charter, we can make a real and positive difference that will help to protect older and vulnerable people across Wales from scammers and the crimes they perpetrate.”