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Get scam aware

scams Feb 2018


New service helps scam victims and keeps you informed of the latest scams

A new service has been launched by Age UK Barnet to tackle the rising problem of financial scams, which are most likely to target the over 55s. It is reported that financial abuse is the second most common form of abuse and it has been estimated that almost £10 billion is lost to personal fraud by over three million victims in the UK annually.

The new service offers support to individuals who are already a victim of a scam, or who may be at risk of being scammed. Once referred to Age UK Barnet’s Scams Awareness Project Manager, we can offer support on a one to one basis. The service also raises awareness among relevant groups such as care home residents.

Scams are organised and run by criminals. Their aim is to try to trick victims into sending cash, transferring money or disclosing personal information. Their tactics are misleading, predatory, detrimental and fraudulent.  Scammers are professional hoaxers, they are friendly, well spoken, know how to dazzle you and make you focus on prize.  They refer you to what seems to be a legitimate website, offer false testimonial and give themselves important sounding titles. They use fictitious charities and distressing photographs in order to pull at your heartstrings.

This is organised crime.

Scammers operate by:

  • Looking at properties for signs of vulnerable people eg ramps, bars, property upkeep, disabled bays (all signs identifying vulnerability)
  • Targeting people with money worries, risk takers with get rich quick schemes, those affected by climate of austerity and/or changes in benefit entitlement, the chronically lonely.
  • Offering high value rewards.
  • Exploiting trust.
  • Pressurising with urgent and false timescales
  • Grooming by luring with enticing language


If you would like to make a referral or discuss any aspect of scams awareness, please contact Helen Nicolaou,, telephone:  020 8432 1419


This project is funded by the City Bridge Trust, delivered by Age UK Barnet in partnership with Age UK and Action Fraud Economic Crime Victim Care Unit

How to reduce the risk of a scam

We recommend the following steps to reduce the likelihood of you or a family member or neighbour falling victim to a financial scam.

  • Register with True Call, which blocks 98% of nuisance calls., 08000 336 330.
  • Set up a password with utility companies, always use a door chain, genuine callers are always happy to rearrange.
  • Call 999 if you feel pressured/threatened at any time. If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, call 101.
  • Always choose reliable trade person via websites such as, 03330146190 or Age UK London’s Business Directory 0800 334 5056.
  • To opt out from deliveries from other unaddressed mail distributors you may wish to register with the 'Your Choice' preference scheme run by the Direct Marketing Association. They can be contacted at: 'Your Choice' Preference Scheme, Direct Marketing Association (UK) Ltd, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS. Telephone: 0207 291 3300/Fax: 0207 323 4165/Email:
  • If you would like to stop any other unwanted communications please visit The Mailing Preference Service, which provides details on all other preference services, or call the Mailing Preference Service on 0845 703 4599.
  • The Fundraising Preference Service is a website-based service that can help members of the public control the communications they receive from charities. By registering your details with the Fundraising Preference Service you can choose to stop email, telephone calls, addressed post and/or text messages directed to you personally from a selected charity or charities. To find out more and register please visit or call their helpline on 0300 3033 517.

Common scams

  • Lottery and prize draw. You are told you have won a large cash prize, but you need to send a fee to release it.
  • Clairvoyant scam. They go to a lot of trouble to wish you health, wealth and happiness. Form of blackmail, tell you bad luck will befall you.
  • Catalogue and brochure scams. Selling variety of products, beauty, vitamins etc. Promise a prize with orders, prize never appears. Products over priced, shoddy and you’re often tied in to buying regularly.
  • Religious scams – prayers for you, ask for a fee, Lourdes-holy place
  • Fake bank/building society correspondence, mostly by email, asking for information and or cash
  • Debt recovery, claiming there is a debt against your name and court action imminent if you don’t pay
  • Betting: selling information on sure winners.
  • Crisis collection (neighbour needs help, funeral costs)
  • Fake crowd funding
  • Blackmail/ransom (I know you’ve been doing so and so, will report you tell family etc)
  • Investments – wine,