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Author: Age Cymru
Published on 01 May 2014 09:00 AM

Age Cymru is repeating our call for government action to protect older people from scams and rogue traders.

It coincides with the start today of Scams Awareness Month 2014.

Our spokesman Gerry Keighley says:

Scams - such as postal scams, email scams, and rogue traders carrying out overpriced and unnecessary work on older people’s homes, can have a devastating effect.

“Older people who are targeted and caught up in scams lose an average £1,200 each, but they can lose much, much more- their life savings, their self-esteem, their dignity and even the will to live.

“Families can also be devastated by scams as some older people end up trusting the scammers more than they do their own relatives.

“This is why, on the first day of Scams Awareness Month 2014, Age Cymru’s ‘Scams and swindles’ campaign is again calling for greater protection to be provided for older people from scams.”

The ‘Scams and swindles’ campaign is calling for:

• The Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities to consider dramatically increasing the number of ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ to protect older people from unscrupulous rogue traders and doorstep scams;
• Royal Mail and other postal delivery companies’ protocols to be changed to prevent obvious scam mail from entering the network and to allow staff to report suspicious mail to supervisors when they suspect someone is being scammed;
• Telephony companies to offer more protection against  scam phone calls, especially from abroad, and to close down lines from persistent offenders;
• Internet service providers to increase protection against spam/scam emails with higher security levels, plus blocking access to known offenders;     

Valerie Evans, 72, is from Cardiff.

She has had her personal details stolen and used online by scammers to apply for a loan, as she explains:

“In March last year, I got a letter from the Nationwide building society saying they were processing an application for a £10,000 loan that I’d applied for online.

“The application had been made to the Derbyshire Building Society – which I believe is a subsidiary of Nationwide, from an online account.

“I’ve got an account with Nationwide, but I had never used it online and as soon as I got the letter I rang Nationwide to say I had not applied for a loan.

“I also visited my local branch of Nationwide the following day to report the fraud.

“It would appear that someone had used my details and hacked into Nationwide’s systems and tried to borrow £10,000 in my name.

“Not only that, but they had also managed to change the contact telephone number on my building society account and added their own email address to it as well.

“The £10,000 loan application was cancelled and Nationwide’s fraud department were informed of it and that’s the last I heard of it.

“I don’t know how or where the scammers got my details from, but it has made me very worried.”

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444