Scamming is more prevalent than ever, please be aware

Last week I had pleasure of meeting the former Strictly judge, Len Goodman, in Parliament to discuss the new Santander campaign – which he is fronting – that aims to address the issue of scams targeted at over 60s.  

This year Santander launched their Scam Avoidance School (SAS). The scheme has been specially designed for the over 60s to make them aware of scams targeted at them and teach them how to avoid them.

800 classes have already been held at Santander branches and other local community centres across the UK, taking around 12,000 people through a syllabus of how to avoid online, impersonation, cashpoint and card cons.

Fraud impacts hundreds of thousands of people in the UK each year, I therefore encourage constituents to have a look at this campaign and educate yourselves on how to avoid scams.

Criminals will use all sorts of techniques to trick you into giving away your money or details that give them access to your money. Criminals will be very polite and familiar over the phone and may try to exploit your trust in figures of authority, or even pose as personnel from well-known brands.

A common method of scammers finding victims these days is phishing. One in every five over 60s say they have been targeted by scammers over email. Criminals will send out emails that can look very convincing – it might be that they pretend to be your bank or a utility company, or possibly pose as someone you may know.

It’s very important to take your time whilst talking to people on the phone and hang up or end the conversation if you are unsure. And remember that a genuine organisation will never ask you to provide passwords, personal or financial information in an email or text message.

It is important that all people, not just the over 60s, are aware and more alert to scams so we can keep our bank accounts safe.

It was a really insightful reception that opened my eyes to the dangers of fraudsters. Whether over the phone, in person or online, these people will try any methods of deception or psychological tricks to scam you, so please be vigilant.