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Crimestoppers joins forces with Post Office Limited to stamp out scams against the elderly and vulnerable in Rotherham
The crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has joined forces with the Post Office to help stop scams targeting Rotherham’s elderly and vulnerable community.
Victims are being conned out of hundreds of pounds by fraudsters using postal, telephone and online scams.
Scams involve false stories of lottery wins, inheritance from a long lost relative, romance, and investment opportunities.
And, alarmingly, criminals are also known to promise miracle tablets or medical cures for illnesses in return for cash.
Now the Post Office and Crimestoppers are hoping to tackle the crime with a new campaign to raise awareness and encourage more to speak out about the perpetrators.
Gemma Wilson, Crimestoppers’ Regional Manager for Yorkshire, said: “We can all be targeted by scams but the elderly and vulnerable are most at risk and we all have a duty to protect them.
“If you have information on those carrying out this despicable crime we urge you to contact us anonymously through our 0800 555 111 phone line or Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
“We do not take personal details and cannot trace calls or information given online. Tell us what you know, not who you are.”
Senior Security Manager for the Post Office, Rob King added: “We are very pleased to be continuing our partnership with Crimestoppers and in particular sponsor this campaign, which aims to prevent crime that targets the vulnerable and elderly.
“The Post Office is responsible for providing products and services right at the very heart of the community and as such we have a duty to keep our customers safe.
“Being a victim of a scam can cause significant financial and emotional harm so we are pleased to be part of this partnership to stop such fraudulent activity.”
Recent incidents recorded by the Post Office include an elderly customer, from West Yorkshire, who used MoneyGram to send £90 to a man who claimed to be from a computer software company and said he could install software on her computer to protect her from hackers.
After paying the money, the individual then demanded £950 extra, saying he would reimburse her after a week.
Elsewhere in the UK, one elderly woman was discovered trying to send £750 to an unknown individual in Cameroon. The woman thought she was sending the money for a cat.
Another customer was fooled in to paying just over £436 and then a further MoneyGram transfer of £399 after a fraudster contacted them saying they were from a computer software company and could give them life-long protection from indecent images on their computer.
The campaign was officially launched today (May 26th) at the Rawmarsh Post Office branch, Rotherham, with the support of Marilyn Baldwin, founder of charity Think Jessica.
Mrs Baldwin has tirelessly campaigned to protect the elderly and vulnerable from scams since her own mother fell victim to fraudsters.
She said: “My mother, Jessica, was in her late 70s when she fell victim to her first postal scam.
“Criminals put her details on a ‘suckers’ list, which was circulated to fraudsters all over the world and it became a nightmare that lasted for five years.
“It left my relationship with my mother in tatters. The scammers were too convincing and nothing I could say to my mother could make her realise she was being fooled.
“Since my mother’s death in 2007, I have campaigned hard to stop scammers ruining other people’s lives.
“It’s really important to reach out to the elderly and vulnerable and their friends and families to educate them about scams. By doing this we can help prevent more people being targeted and encourage more people to report this crime.
“Potential victims and their families do need our help and I’m delighted to be involved with this campaign by Post Office Limited and Crimestoppers. They share my goal to see this criminal activity stamped out.”
Age UK Rotherham and South Yorkshire Police have also lent their support to the campaign, which will be promoted throughout Rotherham over the next month.
Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, South Yorkshire Police’s District Commander for Rotherham, added: “Protecting those that are vulnerable is everyone’s responsibility.
“I thank all those involved in this important campaign which aims to increase awareness and reporting to help stamp out such crimes.”