Safeguarding the Elderly from UK Telephone Scams: A Detailed Guide

As we age, we gain wisdom and experience that enriches our lives. However, the digital age has brought with it a wave of technological advancements that can sometimes leave older generations feeling a little lost. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals take advantage of this situation, using elaborate telephone scams to trick older people out of their hard-earned savings, exploiting those who might not be as tech-savvy as the younger generation.

In this blog post, we aim to arm our customers with knowledge and tips to avoid falling prey to UK telephone scams effectively.

Understanding Telephone Scams

Telephone scams encompass a wide range of fraudulent activities committed over the phone. The scammer might pretend to be a bank representative, a government official, a healthcare provider like Careium, or even a charity organisation. They aim to trick their victims into providing personal information, bank details, or sending money.

How to Recognise Telephone Scams

Recognising a scam is the first step towards avoiding it. Here are some common signs:

  1. **Pressure to Act Immediately:** Genuine organisations rarely force you to make an immediate decision or act fast.
  2. **Request for Personal Information:** Be wary of callers asking for sensitive personal or financial information. Banks and legitimate businesses do not usually request such details over the phone.
  3. **Unfamiliar Phone Numbers:** Scammers often use unrecognised or withheld numbers. Some also use ‘spoofing’ to make the call appear from a local number.
  4. **Unsolicited Calls:** If you did not expect a call and the person insists on discussing personal financial matters, it’s a red flag.

How Older People Can Avoid Telephone Scams

  1. **Stay Informed:** Knowledge is power. Stay updated on the latest scams and their tactics. The Action Fraud website, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, is an excellent resource.
  2. **Register with the Telephone Preference Service:** This free service helps reduce unsolicited sales or marketing calls.
  3. **Don’t Share Personal Information:** Never share personal or financial details unless you have verified the caller’s identity and are confident about their intentions.
  4. **Hang Up:** If a call seems suspicious, hang up immediately. Wait a few minutes before making another call to ensure the line has cleared, or use a different phone to report the scam.
  5. **Use Call-blocker:** A call-blocking device, like BT’s Call Protect, can prevent unwanted calls, providing an additional layer of protection.
  6. **Report Scams:** If you believe a scammer has targeted you, report it to Action Fraud or your phone provider.
  7. **Consult with Trusted Individuals:** If unsure about a call, discuss it with a trusted friend, family member, or caregiver before taking action.

Remember, scammers often prey on fear and confusion. If a call seems unsettling, it’s okay to disconnect and gather your thoughts. Trust your instincts and remember that it’s your right to refuse or ignore any unsolicited requests.

In a world where scams are ever-evolving, staying vigilant is the key to staying safe. It’s essential for us as a community to look out for each other, particularly the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to these fraudulent practices. By spreading awareness and implementing these protective measures, we can help safeguard our loved ones from falling victim to these telephone scams.

If you are worried that a call about your personal alarm service might be a scam, please contact us immediately and speak to our Customer Services team.