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In the run up to Christmas last year there was a lot of news about the TV license renewal scam. That was the one that claimed your licence was about to expire and needed renewing, asking people to enter their personal and bank details. It was particularly convincing. At this time of year we need to be extra vigilant about scams. Friends against Scams is a national initiative which aims to protect all our us from becoming victims. If you have access to a tablet or computer they offer online training to help you find out more scams and how you can protect yourself and others from becoming a victim. Their website also offers a host of information about different types of scams. It is estimated that £5-10 billion is lost annually by victims of scams, with the average age of a victim being 75. Older people can be more vulnerable to scams. In an ageing society, the number of people over 65 living on their own in England is projected to increase from 3.5m in 2015 to 4.97m in 2030. According to research, more than a third (36%) of those who consider themselves to be lonely most or all of the time, have fallen victim to fraud. If you are worried about a potential scam the Citizens Advice are a useful point of contact, as are Age UK. Do contact your local branch and they will be able to advise you. Action Fraud offers some simple advice under the acronym SCAMS:

Stop – Never to anything you don’t want to or make any decisions on the spot. Check – always check someone’s credentials. Ask – always ask someone you trust for a second opinion. Mine – do not give away your personal information. Share – Share your experience with others to lower the risk of being scammed.

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