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New Year, New Vaccines, New Scam!

Published on 08 January 2021 04:49 PM

Our charity continues to support the over 50s in fighting back against scammers. Age UK Cheshire East’s Scams Awareness and Aftercare Project has been run entirely in lockdown, since it began in April last year. It is a partnership with Cheshire East Council Trading Standards, and kindly funded by The Garfield Weston Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.

On its launch, the project was busy warning local older people against
COVID-19 scams, and that is still the case today. Scammers have quickly taken advantage of the vaccine rollout, through bogus phone messages and texts, inviting people to apply for their vaccine appointment. If the recipient follows the scammer’s instructions, they are asked for bank details to verify their identity.   Health authorities would never ask for an individual’s bank details, passwords or PIN numbers and would never ask you to press a button on your keypad, or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine.

There is no charge for the vaccine but scammers are requesting payment. The project’s team recommends any scams should be reported to Action Fraud or the Police.

Beyond COVID-19, there is so much more to this successful project.

  • A monthly scams awareness update bulletin is issued to over 5,000 older people. It has a featured scam, top tips on how to avoid it and alerts to current local scams. One subscriber said how the information from the bulletin means she is no longer concerned when receiving scam phone calls.
  • The team delivers scams awareness sessions to older people interest groups, highlighting how to spot, avoid and report scams. These are currently hosted online. After attending the session, people have realised they were perhaps not as scam savvy as they thought, and welcomed the range of information available.
  • Being a victim of scams can be very unnerving. The project offers phone and online support to older people who have been victims of scams, giving advice about how to keep safe, reassurance, and helping them to regain confidence in themselves and others.

The project’s team is supported by Scams Awareness Champions. These are volunteers, working from home, who feed information about scams into the project and share scams awareness messages with older people in their local community. The project is currently looking for volunteers in Poynton, Knutsford, Congleton, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge areas.

Project Manager, Sally Wilson says “We knew before the pandemic that this project was needed to empower older people against scams, but coronavirus has intensified that need. In this crisis, we see an opportunity to help others; unfortunately, scammers see an opportunity to help themselves. I would really encourage people to make use of the project’s services, or come forward as a volunteer, so our older people can feel safe and reassured.”

To subscribe to the scams awareness bulletin direct to your inbox, book an awareness session for your group or ask for support after being scammed, please contact Sally Wilson at or on 01625 612958/07932 999902. Sally would also like to hear from you if would like to be a volunteer Scams Awareness Champion with the project.