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Beware The Scammers

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    Alan Bell

    I have been reading lately of several incidences where pensioners such as ourselves, are being increasingly targeted by fraudsters. In some cases, the victims have lost life savings amounting to thousands of pounds.

    It is only too easy to fall victim to criminals whose sole purpose is to relieve you of your hard earned cash, so I hope you will take the time to read the following which may ensure you are never a victim!

    Some Background

    During my professional life after the RAF, I was instrumental in setting up and running the very first anti fraud unit within the UK Higher Education system. Its job was to prevent fraudulent applicants gaining places at universities and HE Colleges, then obtaining grants and loans to which they were not entitled. Believe me many thousands tried it on.

    In my opinion, cash lost to fraudsters is never acceptable and so the idea often coined by some in high places that there are ‘acceptable losses’ cuts no ice with me, particularly when  taxpayers are the people suffering the losses!

    Think Prevention!

    The explosion in internet use where most of us now bank and shop line, are involved in social media sites or regularly spend time just surfing the net,  leaves us all vulnerable to fraud.  Most scams whether attempted on line or not, are very simple to operate and rely on the gullibility of individuals in order to succeed. If we can be just that bit more suspicious of that unusual email, that strange telephone call or the seemingly innocent caller at our door, then the chances are  you will not become a victim.

    I have assembled some useful links that will offer useful advice covering the most common scams:

    Email Scams

    No bank, building society or other body with which you hold an account will ever email you asking for password information relating to your account. NEVER EVER click a link displayed in any such emails. These are designed to pass you to a fraudulent site.

    Telephone Scams

    Telephone calls from anyone suggesting they are representing your bank or other account holding organisation, must always be viewed as suspicious. Hang up immediately and contact the account holding institution to report the call. However, NEVER ring back on a number provided by the caller as this again will simply divert your call to the fraudster.

    Doorstep Callers

    A very common problem where pensioners and other vulnerable individuals are pressurised in one way or another into parting with cash by unwanted doorstep callers. Since living in France, we have often been approached by such individuals eg asking for directions (why when we all have SatNavs these days?). Without a bona fide appointment we never allow them to enter the premises and we never agree to any doorstep offers of goods or services.


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