Older People: Crime Prevention

Home Office written question – answered on 27th November 2015.

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Photo of Craig Whittaker Craig Whittaker Conservative, Calder Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps her Department has taken to raise awareness of financial scams targeting older people.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government takes all types of fraud and financial scams extremely seriously. The Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, published in 2013, places a strong focus on protecting those most at risk. The Home Office has recently completed a research project in order to better understand who in the UK is at risk from fraud and cyber threats, what makes them vulnerable and how to most effectively reach them. This will enable the Home Office and partners to develop ways to better protect the public, for example providing targeted fraud prevention advice.

The Home Office also works with the City of London Police, which is the national lead force for fraud, to help all police forces to understand better who is vulnerable to fraud in their areas, and to work with local partners including the voluntary sector to help protect those vulnerable people from the threat from fraud.

Action Fraud is the central reporting point for fraud and is operated by the City of London Police. It assesses the vulnerability of victims based on the financial and health impact of the reported fraud, and provides this information to forces. This enables police forces to make targeted interventions with those most at risk. When a serious threat or a new type of fraud is identified, Action Fraud places an alert on its website with advice for individuals to protect themselves from becoming victims. Members of the public can sign up to receive these alerts by email.

The Home Office is also working closely with Financial Fraud Action UK and the British Bankers Association who have issued specific advice to consumers on telephone scams. This includes helping consumers know when they may be a target to these fraudsters, and advice on what information should never be shared, e.g. PIN number. In December last year Financial Fraud Action UK and the police announced a joint declaration to help consumers avoid becoming victims of financial fraud.

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