FAST help for scam victims

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Almost 100 people have been helped by the Angus Financial Abuse Support Team, since it was formed just over a year ago.

Angus Council (including health and social care and trading standards) and Police Scotland recognised the benefits of providing a support service to vulnerable people in the community, the elderly in particular, who can be the target of unwanted scams.

The FAST is designed to get advice and support to more vulnerable victims of any financial scam or abuse quickly, minimise harm and put protective measures in place.

That approach has helped 99 people in the last 15 months, who were referred to the service by those agencies involved, or other partner organisations.

A range of issues have been identified through these cases. FAST’s work has confirmed that criminals are picking on the elderly and more vulnerable in our communities, with those living alone or who are lonely particularly at risk.

More than 80 per cent of all referrals have been for people aged 65 or over. Over 30 per cent were over 85 years old.

Amongst the scams were so-called roofing workers who bring their own supply of maggots with them and pass them off as woodworm to make a case to carry out unnecessary and expensive work.

A vulnerable older person was referred to the FAST after falling prey to a ‘romance scam’ and being fleeced of over £30,000 and people have also lost life savings after been tricked by fake lottery mail.

Help is there for those who need it.

Mark Hodgkinson, Adult Protection and Review Officer for AHSCP, said: “We want anyone who thinks they might have been scammed, or anyone who is worried about being scammed by something or someone to pick up the phone and call us.

“We have been able to offer advice and support for every referral we have received. Don’t suffer in silence in the belief that no one is there to help. We can help.”

The FAST has a range of devices available for those who need them that can block scam or nuisance phone calls. These devices can be fitted free of charge.

Anyone wanting to make a referral to the FAST can contact ACCESSline online or via 03452 777 778, Police Scotland on 101 or Trading Standards on 01241 435600.

You can report a scam and get latest information about scams by going to Angus Council’s Scam Free Angus page at http://www.angus.gov.uk/info/20404/scam_free_angus.