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Older People In North Yorkshire - Advice On Avoiding Scams

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7:58am 23rd September 2013

North Yorkshire Police has teamed up with Age UK, North Yorkshire County Council Library Services and the NHS to deliver fraud prevention advice specifically tailored to older members of our communities.

The campaign has been prompted after a number of victims, all aged over 60 years, have fallen victim to so called “boiler room” scams, say North Yorkshire Police. They tell Minster FM that, a “boiler room” is best described as a call centre, that is normally based overseas. They add that boiler room makes cold calls to potential victims offering investment opportunities. These can be in a wide range of supposed commodities from shares, land investment, fine wines to carbon offset schemes and others. They sometimes even offer a fraud recovery service to previous victims in order to defraud them further, say North Yorkshire Police.       

So far this year North Yorkshire Police is aware of at least £1.5milliion being obtained fraudulently from victims across the county, with some victims’ losses running to tens of thousands of pounds. A common feature of these crimes is that the victims are invariably aged over 60 and have not used the Internet to conduct any due diligence about the investment, say North Yorkshire Police.

Utilising a booklet produced by Age UK, called ‘Avoiding Scams’, North Yorkshire Police says it has teamed up with partners to make these booklets available in all libraries, hospital wards for older patients and doctors’ waiting rooms across North Yorkshire. The scheme is supported by a poster which is prominently displayed at these locations. It is hoped that the project will be extended to City of York libraries in the near future.

Detective Constable Melanie Spanton, of the Major Fraud Investigation Team, said: “While there are many websites with warnings about this type of fraud widely available on the internet, our experience is that victims are not using computers to conduct research and are vulnerable to this type of fraud.

“We believe that the target audience for this campaign will be receptive to receiving trustworthy advice whilst visiting a doctor’s surgery or using a library. 

“We all have a responsibility to keep vulnerable friends and relatives safe from fraudsters. The booklet is available online at the Age UK website and I would urge those with internet access to view it and talk about the contents with those who may be at risk. As well as containing prevention advice on boiler room frauds the booklet also provides sound advice on a wide range of other scams.

“I would like to thank Age UK for their help in spreading the word, allowing us to circulate this excellent booklet, and to North Yorkshire County Council Library Services and the NHS for distributing the information packs.”

DC Spanton added: “If you have been the victim of this type of fraud and have not yet reported it to the police, I urge you to do so by contacting your local police on 101 or reporting directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040”

To download a copy of Avoiding Scams please visit http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Information-guides/AgeUKIG5_Avoiding_scams_inf.pdf.

Or for more information on fraud and how to report it http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/actionfraud

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