A new initiative is being launched in South Wales to help to the elderly protect themselves against scam phone calls. The rise in the number of PPI claims has made auto-generated calls commonplace. But with firms exercising similar tactics in the accident claims market, the calls have become more than just a nuisance. So, specialist in care, Home Instead are trying to do something about it.
Many of the calls claims firms make are genuine. Acting upon information received, they are providing a public service. Letting victims know that they may be entitled to compensation can ease their suffering.
But there are firms who take this ‘tactic’ to the extreme. They buy databases that include the contact details of likely candidates, but have no real sense of duty in mind.
Nor do they possess any real sense of any injury or accident that could instigate a claim. They plug all the database info into a software program and let auto-dial do the rest.
Non-personalisation is becoming more than a nuisance
If it was simply a case of putting the phone down on the auto-generated message, we could live with it. But Home Instead, a national chain of homes for the elderly, have seen first hand where claims firms are going beyond ‘inconvenience’.
Some of the calls are placed by fraudsters with only one intention in mind: to get people to part with their debit or credit card numbers.
Many of us who’ve been brought up in the connected age know never to give this information out. Even banks and building societies forward messages saying that they’ll never ask for this info over the phone.
But some elderly victims are proving to be less acute at spotting bogus PPI and accident claims. They’re more trusting than millennials, making them prime prey for unscrupulous crooks.
The message is: never give your card details out unless you are 100% certain of the caller’s origin. If you’re in and around Swansea today, you’ll find the next Home Instead course at Reynoldston Village Hall between 2-3pm this afternoon.
What chance when the elderly are victims in their own home?
It’s not just over the phone that the elderly need to take precautions. In Sunderland last week, a care worker was found guilty of robbing a pensioner of almost £2,000.
Kate Watson was responsible for the ongoing care of a 74-year pensioner. And what she is guilty of just underlines how naive the elderly can be.
Kate would take the pensioner’s debit card and withdraw cash from the victim’s account for her own personal. It wasn’t as if the pensioner had placed her carer in a position of trust and asked Kate to withdraw money on their behalf.
The defendant told the court that the pensioner had left the PIN number ‘just lying around’. Finding the card, then matching the two had represented no barrier to the thief.
All told, Watson stole £1,911 from the elderly victim, and was ordered to repay the money. But at a repayment rate of only £40/month (and interest free), in this instance crime does seem to have paid.