Fraud: Older People

Home Office written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to raise awareness of telephone scams that target elderly people.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Minister of State, Home Department

Since September 2016, the Government has been running the Take Five fraud awareness campaign designed to urge the public and businesses to take time to consider whether a situation they find themselves in is genuine. The campaign equips the public to more confidently challenge fraudulent approaches – be they face-to-face, on the telephone or online. Specific advice on phone scams and vishing can be found at www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk.

The Take Five campaign has been jointly led by HMG and UK Finance and involved influential public, private and third sector partners, including Age UK, National Trading Standards (Friends Against Scams initiative), Neighbourhood Watch, banks and law enforcement to deliver protective messages to people who are most vulnerable to fraud, including the elderly. The campaign has been run nationally across digital and social media, radio and video on demand platforms, and included media partnerships with publications such as Women’s Weekly, Ideal Home and Take a Break and presenter-led spots on radio stations like LBC and Heart, seeking to embed behavioural change amongst the target audience.

In addition to this campaign activity, the Government continues to work on practical solutions to address nuisance and scam calls. DCMS secured over £600k in the Autumn Budget to provide vulnerable people with call blocking devices. This was in addition to £500K secured for the same purpose in the previous spending review period. This funding has helped to protect some of the most vulnerable in society from nuisance calls and scams, including those originating from overseas. The Government has also taken action to ban pensions cold calling, recognising that it is the most common method used to initiate pension fraud, which can leave people facing retirement with a greatly reduced income

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