Friends Against Scams initiative comes to Kent as cheats fleece vulnerable out of £10 billion a year

27th October 2016

Take steps to help family members avoid the tricksters, advises law firm Furley Page

A campaign to beat con artists who fleece vulnerable people across the UK of up to £10bn a year is being launched in Kent with FREE sessions in County Hall, Maidstone on Monday 28 November and Monday 5 December.

Friends Against Scams aims to educate people about cons such as fake lotteries, deceptive prize draws and sweepstakes, clairvoyants and computer scams.

The campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, based in Lewes, East Sussex, is being rolled out nationwide and Kent is one of the first areas to take part. Trading standards officers are working with professionals who come into regular contact with potential victims to train as ‘SCAMchampions’, who can advise people on the tricks used by con artists and how to avoid them.

Val Prosser, a Chartered Legal Executive with the Elderly and Vulnerable Client Team at law firm Furley Page, says: “This initiative is not exclusively aimed at older and vulnerable people but unfortunately they do seem to be the most common targets.

“Some victims receive more than 100 scam letters a day from all over the world and numerous international phone calls throughout the day and night. These terrible scams can have a devastating effect on the victim’s health, as well as their family.”

Friends Against Scams highlights a number of warning signs including a vulnerable person writing several  of cheques and purchasing a large amount of stamps; receiving a high volume of post and sending letters to companies abroad; receiving numerous phone calls from strangers and companies; and frequent visits to the Post Office or bank.

Val says: “One way concerned relatives can help a vulnerable person against being the victim of a scam is to encourage them to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney.

“This allows the attorney, who could be a solicitor or a trusted relative or friend, to be able to identify any potential scam on behalf of the vulnerable person. This may prove extremely beneficial if there are concerns they may have become the victim of a scam. The attorney can then take the anxiety and distress away from the victim and deal direct with financial institutions on their behalf.”

Val explains that there are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for property and financial affairs and the other for health care and personal welfare. The attorney under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only act if the donor lacks capacity to make the specific decision in question. This may include the choice of nursing or residential care home, who should visit the donor or what medical treatment is required.  It can also include decisions relating to life sustaining treatment.

VAL PROSSER

Val Prosser has more than 26 years’ experience in the field of elderly and vulnerable client work. She became a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 1996, a leading worldwide professional body for the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates and advising vulnerable clients. Val is a full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and gives talks and seminars to care home residents, charities and local groups.  She has also been a volunteer for the charity Contact the Elderly for several years.

For more advice contact Val Prosser on 01227 763939 or email vjp@furleypage.co.uk

 

HOW TO HELP VICTIMS OF SCAMS

If you are concerned that someone you know may be a victim of a scam then you can contact one of the following to obtain advice or to report suspicious activity:

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