Scams can target anyone, but some people may be more at risk. You can help by keeping an eye out for your family, friends and neighbours.
What to look out for
It might not always be obvious if someone you know is being targeted by scammers. However, there are some tell-tale signs, like:
a noticeably large amount of junk mail
an unusual number of phone calls or visits from strangers
a sudden lack of money
secretiveness about money
lots of goods being delivered that they don’t seem to need
someone’s house having unnecessary work done to it.
What to do
If you think someone you know is being, or has been, targeted by scammers, try to speak to them about it. It’s common for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed if they have fallen victim to a scam. You should reassure them that this isn’t their fault; scammers use tactics that can trick anyone.
If the person has been the victim of a scam, help them to report. If they live in England or Wales, they can report to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040). If they live in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101. They could also talk to Victim Support (0808 168 9111) to get free practical and emotional support. They do not have to have reported the scam.
You may know someone who is vulnerable and worry about financial abuse - for example, a person with dementia who you’re caring for. Talk about your concerns with your local council’s adult social services department. For more information, read our guide Staying in control when you’re older.
Help them to protect themselves
A few simple precautions can provide protection from a wide range of scams. Make sure the person is aware of advice on spotting and avoiding scams. You could suggest they read our Scamwiseguide, check their bank’s security advice or take a look at the advice on the Take Five website.