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Carers' guide to being scam aware

Illustration of woman on her phone, shopping.

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.

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. Try out this Scams Training Event

Friends Against Scams runs a free interactive scams training online activity, which helps us spot the signs of scams.

3. Set up a Redirect Mail

If the person we're caring for is vulnerable and doesn't live with us, then we might want to consider arranging a mail redirect. This means we can choose who will receive the mail.

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 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.

  • 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.

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.

Our Digital Skills for Carers guide, gives further simple tips on staying safe online. Including:

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

In Scotland

  • You can report to the Police on 1010 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or via their website.

  • Alternatively contact Scotland's Citizens Advice Helpline on 0800 028 1456.

In Northern Ireland

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.

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