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Graphic says: Could you help protect your loved ones from scams? Help to manage finances and avoid scams for people at risk and those who support them.

Are you and your loved ones being targeted by scams?

by Jonathan Kearney

Scammers are targeting vulnerable people, such as those with dementia, who may be unable to distinguish scams from legitimate opportunities.

In response the National Trading Standards Scams Team has created the Friends Against Scams initiative to protect and prevent people from falling victim to this type of crime.

Scammers target people in a number of ways, including by post, telephone, internet, email or on the doorstep.

The Friends Against Scams guide provides advice on how to combat these scams, such as purchasing a call blocking unit, keeping your computer software up to date (and better protected) or displaying a ‘No Cold Calling’ sticker on your front door.

Help a friend or relative with their finances

Although we are all potential victims of financial crime and scams, there is clear evidence that criminals target lonely, older citizens, particularly those with cognitive impairment, seeing these people as ‘easy’ targets.

If you have a relative or friend you care for who is experiencing cognitive decline, helping them to manage their finances, and particularly ensuring they do not become a victim of financial crime, is usually a major concern.

To legally act on behalf of a friend or relative, a valid Lasting Power of Attorney is needed. This is a legal document which allows you to appoint a friend or relative to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

To appoint a relative or friend as an attorney, read the guidance here.

You can complete the application online yourself, but you may wish to seek advice from a solicitor.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “Scams are often sophisticated crimes which anyone can fall victim to, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from those around you. If you have made a payment in response to a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible as they may be able to recover some of your money and will refund you in certain circumstances. There are resources out there to help combat scams and support available to prevent you falling victim to them.”

More information can be found at the Friends Against Scams website.

For further advice contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or leave details for Knowsley Trading Standards Department on 0151 443 2885.