AMs discuss ways to tackle scams targeting older people
Measures to combat scams targeting older people could include the introduction of no cold calling zones across Wales.
AM’s are seeking advice over whether
such zones would be legally enforceable under local government by-laws, following repeated complaints about scams targeting older people.
They include a 91-year-old Swansea man targeted by thieves posing as roofing workers last month, in a distraction burglary.
The conmen called on the man at his home on Phillip’s Parade, claiming he needed roofing work, and then took a substantial amount of cash from one of his rooms while they carried out ‘repairs’.
Assembly Members from across the board met with representatives from Age Cymru, Scambusters, and the Older People’s Commissioner’s office, amongst others, to discuss ways of tackling scams targeting older people.
Chairing the meeting, Swansea East AM Mike Hedges said: “With recent figures from the National Fraud Authority showing the total lost to individuals from fraud and scams is more than £6bn a year it’s unsurprising that this is one illegal industry that’s on the rise.
“What’s especially upsetting to note is that there’s one community in particularly that’s being targeted by fraudsters and criminals – older people.
“Such crimes have a devastating impact on so many older adults each year and can leave them in a very vulnerable and helpless position.”
The cross-party group meeting aims to discuss the type of scams out there targeting the older community in Wales, as well as highlight the preventative measures older people, along with their families, can take to stop them from falling victim to such sordid scams.”
The meeting was told that according to the Office of Fair Trading, around 2,500 scams were reported in Wales last year, but the figure could be as high 50,000.
They include online scams, telephone scams, postal scams, and doorstep scams.
AM’s at the meeting called on colleagues to sign an Assembly Statement of Opinion, raising concerns over the effect fraud and scams are having on the older community in Wales, and also called on the Assembly Commission for guidance over whether or not the Assembly has legislative competence to bring into force legally enforceable “no cold calling” zones under local government bye-laws.
Andrew Bertie, head of Scambusters Wales – an alliance of Trading Standards departments from across the country, added:
“Studies have shown that such incidents are hugely under reported, mostly due to embarrassment on behalf of the victim and the thought people may have that they can no longer cope.”