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Author: Age Cymru
Published on 09 August 2011 01:30 PM

Responding to newspaper reports that North Wales residents have recently lost thousands of pounds to phone scams, Louise Hughes - Age Cymru’s Elder Abuse Programme Manager, says:

“Criminals are always finding new ways to trick people out of their money and it is important that we are all up to date of the methods they use so that we can protect ourselves from scams.

“Many of us are now familiar with postal scams – letters dropping on our doormats, saying we’ve won a large sum of money and that we need to send the scammers a ‘release fee’, ‘processing fee’ or ‘administration fee’ to be able to claim this non-existent  ‘prize’.

“But telephone and email scams are now increasingly common and criminals are increasingly brazen in the tactics they use to steal from us, including cold-calling people to trick them into revealing their bank details or make a payment for goods or a service they are not going to receive.

“The tell-tale signs that someone is trying to scam you is always the same - it seems too good to be true, such as a complete stranger contacting you out-of-the-blue, offering you a refund of an insurance policy that you never took out, or asking for bank details or for money upfront, then it is almost certain that you have been targeted by scammers.”

Age Cymru’s top ten tips to avoid scams:

• If it seems too good to be true, it generally is too good to be true;
• If you haven’t entered a competition, you can’t have won a large cash prize;
• People who are genuine do not ask for money in advance;
• If you are unsure, or it doesn’t feel right, don’t respond – throw it away, hang up the phone and don’t reply to texts or emails;
• Nothing bad will happen if you don’t send a so-called psychic any money. They send the same letter to thousands of people telling them the same thing;
• Offers of large amounts of money from abroad are only made to get you to send them to your bank and personal details so they can steal from your account;
• Speak to a friend, relative, local Age Cymru or Consumer Direct if you are concerned about mail you have received;
• If you are being pressurised to buy on the telephone it is okay to say no and put the phone down;
• Responding to one item of scam mail can and usually does result in up to a hundred items of this kind of mail being sent directly;
• Reduce the scams you receive – join the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service (listed in your telephone directory);

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