Police community support officers in Tonbridge are visiting the homes of older people as part of increased measures to protect them from fraudsters and scams.
PCSOs have been attending settings including retirement homes and assisted living properties, to help residents recognise and prevent scams often made through phone calls and emails.
Vulnerable adult intervention officer, PCSO Kim Allen, said: ‘With the easing of Covid restrictions we are working hard to re-engage with groups and sheltered accommodation schemes, the likes of which include communities who are often more vulnerable. ‘Although fraud affects people of all ages and backgrounds, older people are sadly more likely to be targeted by criminals. Becoming a victim of fraud can leave them feeling incredibly violated and is often devastating to their confidence and health. ‘At this time of year, we are focusing on trying to educate people around common scams we see in the run up to Christmas. We give them advice on how to deal with the likes of unsolicited phone calls, text messages and emails.’
The advice includes reminding residents of the national Take Five campaign to prevent fraud, which includes the following three key steps:
STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Is this person really who they say they are? Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore requests for your financial or personal details. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam.
PCSO Allen added: ‘We are also reminding neighbours and relatives of vulnerable people to be on guard against doorstep callers. Whilst there are many legitimate businesses out there, rogue traders may target older people for unnecessary and overpriced work to their homes such as for roof repairs and driveways.‘Prevention is a priority for us. We must make people aware of these crimes and make neighbours and friends more confident to question what is going on. It might be nothing, but it is always better to double check.’