Unfortunately scams are part of life. On a good day, we're all capable of spotting one. But what about our bad days?
There is no shame in falling for a scam. They prey on people having a weak moment. And this is the problem. Many carers and the people we care for, are feeling weak right now. We're run down after a year of lock-down, shielding our cared-for and ourselves.
Our carers' priority poll shows a picture of alternating priorities. With 'concern for keeping our cared-for safe from the virus', being replaced by our 'our own stress and anxiety' the following month. It is a pattern we have seen repeated month after month.
It would be fair to say that many of us are depleted. Scammers know this. And it very much feels like the amount of scams doing the round has grown.
We hope this short guide to being scam savvy will help.
Six things we can do to be more scam savvy
1. Watch and share this video
2. Attend a Scams Training Event
3. Redirect Mail
If our cared-for is vulnerable and doesn't live with us, then we might want to consider arranging a mail redirect. With their consent, we can sign up to the Royal Mail’s paid-for redirection service to have their post delivered to ourselves, or another trusted friend or relative. Apply online at www.royalmail.com or at a Post Office branch.
4. Reduce unwanted phone calls
Blocking all unwanted calls and scam calls is very tricky, but there are things we can do to reduce the quantity.
Firstly, do not consent to your phone number being shared with partner organisations (when a company is collecting your data). Often this is a small tick box to opt in or out. Be careful, as the wording can be rather vague. If in doubt, ask a trusted friend to read and confirm what you're agreeing to.
We can also sign up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – The TPS won't unfortunately stop all scam calls, but it will reduce the amount of unwanted sales and marketing calls received. This is a free service, and we can sign up here or call 0345 070 0707. For more www.tpsonline.org.uk
5. Display a 'no cold calling' sign on our front door
Stickers are usually available from our councils, or this link take your to a printable version.
6. Stay safe online
Many scams are via our computers, and presently we're hearing a lot about vaccine scams. Our Carers Guide to the Covid-19 vaccine, offers some specific advice on this scam.
Read and share:
Our Digital Skills for Carers guide, gives further simple tips on staying safe online. Including
You can read more and share, here:
What to do if you think you've been scammed
1. Report it
If you have made a payment or set one up, contact your bank immediately. They may be able to recover some of your money and in some circumstances will refund you.
In England and Wales:
For an online/ cyber scam, you can report it online to Action Fraud, or over the phone tel: 0300 1232040
You can report to the Police on 1010 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or via their website www.advice.scot
Alternatively contact Scotland's Citizens Advice Helpline on 0800 028 1456.
In Northern Ireland:
Alternatively you can contact Consumerline via their website www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/contact-consumerline-make-complaint-or-ask-advice or call them on 0300 123 6262.
2. Seek emotional support
Realising we have been scammed can have a really negative effect on our emotional wellbeing. Scammed people report feelings of shame and that they don't want other people to know.
It's really important to know that anyone can get scammed. Anyone. There is no shame in it.
If you have been the victim of a scam and would like to chat through how you're feeling or perhaps your next steps, then our carers' support team can help. You can book as many free 1:1 calls as you need, to set things right again.