Gwent Police is working hard with their partner agencies to tackle scammers and swindlers.
These are the people who make the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community a complete misery.
Whether it’s through the post, on the doorstep, via the internet or over the telephone, unscrupulous scammers have found a way to invade and destroy every aspect of the lives of the elderly and vulnerable, by duping them out of their precious assets and savings.
This is unacceptable and Gwent Police believes it is essential to work with their partners agencies to stop these scammers in their tracks.
POET (Protecting Our Elderly Together) is an exciting new joint initiative by Gwent Police, Gwent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Trading Standards, Connect Gwent and many more.
POET shares information between the partners involved by helping them all to work together to provide joint crime prevention, safeguarding and support for victims and enforcement on criminals.
It also helps agencies to review what’s known as a ‘suckers list’, which is shared amongst the criminals and includes the names and addresses of victims of scams or fraud.
In Gwent there more than 1100 names currently on the list, which usually only comes to light when trading standards and the police execute warrants.
Examples of those on the list include an elderly couple in Gwent who lost their entire savings to a fictitious time share company.
Another is an elderly male from the Newport area who was approached by two males who said they’d spotted his roof needed repairing.
The men claimed to be from a company known as ‘Pleasant Roofing’ and persuaded the victim to go to building society and withdraw several thousand pounds.
The offenders carried out no work and even tried coming back for more money before the victim’s family intervened.
A similar roofing fraud was committed in Risca in the last few weeks where the victim was conned out of around £4000.
It’s not just face to face scams either, recently an elderly lady in Abergavenny was conned out of £3000 after scammers made threats to her down the phone.
Victims can suffer an enormous amount of stress, financial loss and deterioration of health after being a subject of such crimes.
Despite house to house enquires by officers; we also have over 100 police surveillance CCTV cameras deployed at vulnerable person’s homes.
These cameras have already caught several offenders in the past and work well to give evidence and bring justice upon offenders.
Gwent Police Sergeant Simon Clark, said: “Here at Gwent Police we work hard to prevent and protect the most vulnerable people in our communities from crime. It is at the heart of our joint effort and partnership approach.”
Gwent Police Chief Inspector Matthew Williams said: “It is essential that we work with partners in the community to raise awareness of things people can do to protect themselves and their properties and provide reassurance to the elderly and those who are most vulnerable. The crimes committed by these scammers have a huge impact on victims so it is essential that we prevent, disrupt and enforce against these criminals.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “These scams can have a potentially devastating impact on the lives of vulnerable people and there are numerous examples of older people who have been harassed out of their entire savings by con artists. Through good joined-up working with key partners and by raising awareness about the dangers of these scams and their impact, we can make it harder for these criminals to exploit older people in Gwent.”
Andrew Bertie from the National Trading Standards Scambusters team in Wales said: ‘The partnership between Gwent Police and Trading Standards has flourished over the last 6 years, by putting together the powers both organisations have we can tackle the organised criminals who commit these offences, we can stop them and secure justice.’
If you have any information regarding scammers or rogue traders please call Gwent Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also call Trading Standards at your local council who will advise about consumer or fair trading issues.
Or to help you stay safe online from internet shopping to social media further advice can be found at www.getsafeonline.org.uk
Here at Gwent Police we have a victims hub, known as Connect Gwent which provides a one stop shop to give support…you can call 0300 123 21 33 or visit http://www.connectgwent.org.uk/
The Facts: Scams Against Older People
- Only 5% of these crimes are reported.
- The average age of a scam victim is 74, showing that criminals tend to prey on older and often more vulnerable members of society.
- Studies have proven that vulnerable adults defrauded in their own home lose confidence and are 2.4 times more likely to either die or go into residential care.
- Scams cost the UK economy between £5-10 Billion a year;
- The stress and pain of victimisation often results in depression, withdrawal and isolation from family and friends and the deterioration of physical and mental health.
- In some cases victims have been known to either consider, attempt or commit suicide.
Source:: Gwent Police News