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Norfolk pensioner loses more than £85,000 after falling victim to scam

PUBLISHED: 18:30 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:00 16 May 2018

Stock photograph showing a woman giving credit card details over the phone. Picture: Getty Images

Stock photograph showing a woman giving credit card details over the phone. Picture: Getty Images

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It is a crime that so many people fall victim to, including one man in his 80s who lost more than £85,000 as a result of it. However, it is also one so few are willing to talk about.

According to Norfolk Trading Standards, more than half of people over-65 have been targeted by scammers either on the phone, in person or via other means.

Now, a new initiative has been launched to try and make Norfolk one of the country’s leading lights in tackling this issue, with a new partnership and awareness campaign.

Norfolk Against Scamming Partnerships is an NTS initiative which is aiming to to raise awareness of scamming and help people avoid falling a victim to it.

Sophie Leney, head of NTS said: “The most important message is that people should not be too embarrassed to report being the victim of a scam. It is just like being victim of any other crime.”

While anybody is susceptible to scamming, it is the elderly that find themselves most at risk, with the average age of victims being 75.

Lynn Matthews, information and advice manager for Age UK Norfolk, said: “It’s an awful thing to happen but I think it largely down to the fact they come from a generation which is far more trusting.

“They have been brought up to feel it is rude to hang up the phone on somebody or not open the door which makes it easier for them to be sucked in by somebody who appears friendly.”

Mrs Matthews said she had recently come across a case in which the charity’s own logo had been used to attempt to scam an individual.

While it is frequently elderly people targeted, Mrs Leney said scams most regularly occur in situation where people are on unfamiliar grounds.

She added: “We recently dealt with a case in which students were contacted by email suggesting mistakes had been made with their loans.”

At a meeting of the county council’s adult social services committee, councillors unanimously agreed to support the initiative, which is to be presented to all council committees.

Trading Standards advice

Mrs Leney gave the following advice to people who may be worried they could be victim of a scam.

• “If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.”

• “Always take your time when presented with something that could potentially be a scam. Don’t jump into anything.”

• “Don’t feel pressured into giving away money or your contact details - always question.”

• “If you are unsure about something, or if somebody is pressuring you to give personal details away - say no.”

• “If you have been scammed, don’t be too embarrassed to report it.”

Age UK Norfolk’s advice

Mrs Matthews gave the following advice:

• “Do not do anything in a hurry.”

• “It is your home, you don’t have to open the door if you do not know who is there.”

• “Always be careful with your personal information.”

• “Speak to a family member, friend or guardian before making any decisions. Any legitimate organisation would be understanding of you choosing to do this.”

• “Destroy things that contain your personal details, such as your address or bank details.”

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