Millions of people across the UK have fallen victim to scams. As June is Scams Awareness Month, a campaign led by the Citizens Advice Bureau and Friends Against Scams, we’re fighting back against con artists by helping you to spot a scam and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Leigh-on-Sea might not be a place that you usually associate with scams, but since our Partner Melinda Giles became a SCAMChampion last year, she wants to ensure that as a town we don’t ignore these threats, because we never know when they might arise. It’s important to empower communities and work together to take a stand against deception and reduce the risk of financial abuse.
In this article, Melinda discusses how we can prevent and protect ourselves against scams and what the warning signs are. If you are suspicious of exploitation, get in touch with Giles Wilson Solicitors for further advice.
4 WAYS TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY AGAINST SCAMS
1. Be Aware
Watch out for those who are vulnerable in our community, such as those who are elderly, infirm, or live alone and may be lonely. In these cases, the individual may be more likely to answer the door and allow anyone in, or accept help from a stranger who then takes advantage.
Scams are usually targeted at those who show outward signs of vulnerability and appear as though they would easily fall victim to the hoax.
2. Take Action
If you notice a person acting suspiciously or befriending a lonely and potentially vulnerable person, report this behaviour to: the Citizens Advice Bureau, the police, an advocacy charity, social services safeguarding, or a solicitors firm in Southend. Checks can be carried out without you necessarily being identified.
3. Protect Ourselves and Others
Ensure you and your loved ones are protected by making a Lasting Power of Attorney, which should be chosen wisely with the support of a trusted, professional solicitor. The role of an Attorney is not one to be taken lightly; this person is able to take full control of your finances both if you lose mental capacity and beforehand.
Share information with your family and close friends about where you have placed your Will and any Power of Attorney details so that they are aware and can contact the professionals you trust should you become at risk from scams.
4. Stay Alert
It is possible to place a Property Alert at the HM Land Registry to protect your property and dealings from fraud. This service sends notifications to you or a solicitor when there is certain activity on the properties you monitor. As we move closer to digital signatures and online applications in matters of probate and property transfers, putting protective measures in place for your property, your finances and your Will have become even more important.
HOW TO SPOT A SCAM
There are several ways in which you could be scammed: online, by phone, by post or in person. Quite often, con artists are seeking your personal details to either steal money or commit identity theft.
It’s easier to protect yourself from fraudsters if you learn the warning signs of a scam:
- A call/email/visitor comes out of the blue or from a stranger;
- You have been asked to pay for something in advance, especially a bank transfer;
- You have been asked for personal information, such as bank details or computer passwords. You will never be asked for your PIN by your bank;
- It sounds unusual or out of the ordinary, such as claims that you have won large sums of money or have been asked to keep the discussion secret.
To keep yourself safe, never:
- Give away personal information, such as bank details, computer passwords or PIN numbers;
- Download attachments or files from an unknown or suspicious email;
- Send money or buy anything for someone you have not met in person and can trust;
- Let strangers into your house if they’re at your door;
- Respond to any emails or calls from unexpected or unknown sources. If you receive an email from a trusted company, such as Apple or your bank, but you’re unsure whether it is legitimate, call their official numbers to verify.
Find the most common types of scams detailed here.
HOW GILES WILSON SOLICITORS CAN HELP YOU
If you’re worried that a vulnerable friend or relative may be at risk of exploitation, our experienced solicitors can act on any suspicion to help protect them. Our Court of Protection solicitors are specialists at handling mental capacity cases and are dedicated to preventing the exploitation of the elderly and vulnerable.
Contact us for legal advice and support to guarantee the security of your loved ones. Visit our solicitors at one of our three offices in Essex, get in touch by phone on 01702 477106 or email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit our website for more information on how we can protect the vulnerable together.
Help us to take a stand against fraudsters by sharing this article and raising awareness of cons in Leigh-on-Sea and Essex. Get involved with Scams Awareness Month by sharing your stories or tips on social media with the hashtag #ScamAware.