Recent scam phone call to watch out for

We’ve been made aware of a recent phone scam attempt to a member of the public from a company pretending to work for Age UK. Find out full details here.

Age UK has been made aware of a scam phone call that was made to a member of the public by a company who call themselves ‘Vision Homes’, purporting to work for Age UK and offering loft insulation. Please encourage any victims to report scams to their local trading standards and the local police. You can also find some useful resources below.

We have doorstep crime resources and phone scam resources available on our website.

Printed copies of our online Staying Safe guide are also available to order here. Please view the information on the Loop regarding how to order printed guides. (Please note that orders may take a little longer to fulfil than normal due pressures on resource and staff capacity.)

Get involved with Charity Fraud Awareness Week and help protect your charity from fraud and cybercrime

Find out all about Charity Fraud Awareness Week, a time for charities and their supporters to talk about fraud and share good practice.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week (18 – 22 October 2021) is an award-winning campaign run by a partnership of charities, regulators, law enforcers, representative and umbrella bodies, and other not-for-profit stakeholders from across the world. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of fraud and cybercrime affecting the sector and to create a safe space for charities and their supporters to talk about fraud and share good practice.

Why is it important?

In recent weeks, a number of local Age UKs have reported that they have been victims of cybercrime. All charities are susceptible to fraud and can be targeted. Those providing services and supporting local communities may be especially vulnerable to fraudsters attempting to exploit current national and global crises to carry out fraud and cybercrime. This means that now – more than ever – charities need to be fraud aware and take steps to protect their money, people and assets from harm.

Preventing Charity Fraud

As part of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, a website called ‘Preventing Charity Fraud’ has been set up to provide a range of helpful resources to help you protect your organisation. This includes:

  • information, advice and practical tools to help you fight fraud and stay safe from harm
  • free e-learning modules
  • webinars
  • helpsheets
  • templates (coming soon)

To find out more, visit www.preventcharityfraud.org.uk

Reminder: Scams Prevention and Support Programme applications are now open

Grant applications for the new Scams Prevention and Support Programme are now open! Find out how to apply here.

In case you missed our earlier update on 7 July, we have a new two-year programme that we’re seeking local partners to work with on. The Scams Prevention and Support Programme aims to prevent thousands of older people becoming victims of scams and to support those who have already been scammed, so that they feel safer and less likely to be scammed again. Find out all about the programme, including how to apply, below.

Based on a successful pilot three years ago, the selected partners will provide scams awareness talks to groups of people and one-to-one scams advice sessions in people’s homes. We will, of course, introduce some flexibility for how we can safely do that work if Covid‑19 infections and restrictions get significantly worse again in November and beyond.

We’re looking to work with 16 partners from England and Wales, with grants available of up to £40k a year for the two years of delivery (up to £80k in total). Local delivery will start from 1 November 2021.

Applications are now open, so take a look at the Scams Prevention and Support Programme page on the loop for more details, including the all-important link to start your online GIFTS application form. Applications close at noon on 2 August and we’re looking forward to reading all your applications!

If you have any trouble accessing the loop, please contact: theloop@ageuk.org.uk

New grant funding opportunity: Scams Prevention and Support Programme

Grant applications for the new Scams Prevention and Support Programme will open Monday 12th July. Find out all the details below.

We’re excited to announce that on 12 July we’re opening applications to a new two-year programme. The Scams Prevention and Support Programme aims to prevent thousands of older people becoming victims of scams and to support those who have already been scammed, so that they feel safer and less likely to be scammed again.

Based on a successful pilot three years ago, the selected partners will provide scams awareness talks to groups of people and one-to-one scams advice sessions in people’s homes (for those who are vulnerable or at risk of being scammed, or have been scammed before). We will, of course, introduce some flexibility for how we can safely do that work if Covid‑19 infections and restrictions get significantly worse again in November and beyond.

We’re looking to work with 16 partners from England and Wales, with grants available of up to £40k a year for the two years of delivery (up to £80k in total). Local delivery will start from 1 November 2021.

Take a look at the Scams Prevention and Support Programme page on the loop for more details, including which local partners can apply, how you’ll be able to apply from 12 July and who to contact for more information.

If you have any trouble accessing the loop, please contact: theloop@ageuk.org.uk

Information on the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out including scams to watch out for

Answers to some key questions on the Covid-19 vaccine as well as useful information on scams.

It’s great news that more than 4 million people have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Those aged 70 and over will soon start receiving invitations to get a vaccine appointment, as well as those that are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid. The priority groups, including care home residents and staff should be invited to receive their first vaccine dose by the middle of February. A new article on Discover answers some key questions on the vaccine roll-out and how people will be contacted about their appointment.

Unfortunately, some criminals have been using the roll-out as an opportunity to take advantage of older people waiting to get the vaccine. There have been reports of scam text messages, calls, emails and doorstep visits. While scams such as these are rare, it is still very important to be aware of what to look out for. The advice is very simple: 

The vaccine is only available on the NHS, and you will never be asked to pay for it or to provide your bank details. 

Anything that suggests otherwise is a scam. Also remember that:

  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents

If you believe someone has been the victim of a scam, report this directly to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040. If an older person is vulnerable and you are worried that someone has or might come to their house, report it to the Police or by calling 101.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020

19th October marks the start of Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020! Here’s all the info on the campaign and how you can get involved.

Get involved in the Charity Commission’s campaign from 19 – 23 October to help keep your charity safe from fraud! Like all sectors, charities can be susceptible to fraud and cybercrime. Those providing vital services and support to local communities during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic may be particularly vulnerable.

All charities, even those with relatively small reserves to call upon, can take simple steps to boost resilience to fraud and cybercrime. In times like these, prevention really is better than cure.

The fraud awareness campaign, run jointly by the Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel (together with a coalition of sector partners), aims to encourage and empower charities to talk about fraud and share best practice.

The 2020 campaign will focus on 3 simple messages:

  • Be fraud aware
  • Take time to check
  • Keep your charity safe
Get involved in the campaign
  • You can access a range of free resources from one handy charity fraud awareness hub. You’ll find mini-tutorials, on-demand webinars, videos and factsheets to help you with fraud awareness.
  • Download the supporters pack from the Fraud Advisory Panel website (includes campaign posters and social media assets)
  • Join the conversation on Twitter by promoting your own counter fraud messages or retweet the Commission’s using the hashtag #CharityFraudOut
  • You can also develop your own counter fraud activities aimed at staff and volunteers, members and beneficiaries, donors and supporters.

TV Licence campaign – scams and Pension Credit guidance

With those aged 75+ set to lose the free TV licence, we’ve put together some guidance for queries you may be receiving around TV licence scams and using Pension Credit to retain the free licence. There are also some template social media posts you can use to spread the word.

As you will likely have seen in the news or in our post last Friday, the BBC has confirmed its decision to remove the TV licence concession from the over-75s from 1 August. Naturally we’re bitterly disappointed by this decision and you can view our response here.

We’re sure you will be receiving a rise in enquiries regarding this decision so we have put together some information below that you may find useful when answering any queries. There is guidance on TV licence scams and how to spot them, as well as some additional information on helping those aged 75+ who are eligible to access the free TV licence through Pension Credit.

We haven’t given up on saving the free TV licence though and nearly 50,000 people have already emailed the Government and BBC through our campaign page. If you have time, you can get involved here or share the link with your networks so that as many people as possible have chance to ask the government and the BBC to act – before it’s too late.

We have also included some template social media posts at the bottom of this article to help you spread the word if you have time. There are also posts on avoiding scams and claiming Pension Credit that you can share with your followers.

TV License Scams

Fraudsters may look to exploit confusion around the licence fee change by contacting older people and asking them to “pay” for their new licence. With that in mind, we have put together some guidance on our website to be shared with colleagues, partners and older people in your area to help protect them from fraud.

No one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by a letter from TV Licensing and either claimed a free licence or agreed a payment plan. The BBC have told us they expect to start sending letters in August and we will let you know when these dates have been confirmed to us.

For now, those aged 75+ should ignore any emails, letters, calls or doorstop visits they receive asking them to pay for a TV licence as they may be a scam.

Pension Credit

The BBC has decided to scrap free TV licences for people over 75 at a time when television is arguably more important than ever for older people. Luckily for many people over 75 there is still a way to get their TV licence for free.

Anyone aged 75+ receiving Pension Credit will be entitled to a free TV licence from 1 August 2020. However, a staggering 590,000 households aged 75+ across the country aren’t claiming the Pension Credit they’re entitled to, so it’s more important than ever to check who is entitled to Pension Credit – and ensure that those who are already claiming make the most of all the extra benefits of doing so.

Age UK have a benefits calculator on our website that takes no more than 15 minutes that you can signpost to or use to assist an older person. If needed, one of our advisers can help over the phone on our advice line: 0800 678 1602.

Template Social Media posts

Here are some template social media posts to help you share this advice and the continuing #SwitchedOff campaign with your followers:

Unfortunately, #TVLicence scams are becoming increasingly common. 📺 Be cautious about any emails or calls that ask you to update your personal or banking details. Find out more about how to keep your money and information safe from fraudsters, here: https://bit.ly/3fs5ajL

The #TVLicence decision is worrying for those on low incomes who will find it hard to pay for a licence. Many will have to forego another essential or try to survive without a TV at all. 📺 Email the Government and the BBC and help save free TV licences: https://bit.ly/3j4B7AT

Pension Credit could entitle you to a free #TVlicence. The BBC has announced it’s scrapping free TV licences for the over 75s. However, if you’re over 75 and claim Pension Credit then you could still be eligible for a free licence. Find out more: https://bit.ly/2WjB8Hr 📺

Fraud and cyber crime guidance for charities

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus to carry out fraud & cyber crime. In response, the Charity Commission has released an alert and guidance.

The Charity Commission has issued an alert and guidance to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of fraud and cyber-attacks during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cyber crime and police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams. 

All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters. 

Click here for the alert and guidance: 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities.

Free Scams Awareness Resources

Sadly, scammers are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. As the Chair of National Trading Standards has said, “there’s never been a more important time for neighbours to look out for each other”. Plus, with so many staff now working from home, we need to be even more vigilant than normal to avoid potential scams. 

Below are a list of resources to help support your organisation:

Friends Against Scams

National Trading Standards are encouraging people to protect their neighbours by joining Friends Against Scams, which provides free online training to empower people to take a stand against scams. To complete the introductory 20-minute online course that gives a good overview of scams and to find out more about specific COVID-19 advice, visit the Friends Against Scams website. For advice and information on how to check if something might be a scam, visit Citizens Advice’s website.

Mandate Fraud while Working from Home

Mandate fraud that targets businesses and charities – As more people work from home due to #COVID19, fraudsters may try to get you to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, to divert funds to their bank account, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to. View the Action Fraud website for more information and watch this useful video on cyber protection while working from home.

 

Information and Advice for Older People

There are also a number of different resources for brand partners to use and share with their networks. Download the full pack here, or click the links below to download the individual documents:

Protecting your organisation from fraud

A guidance note for brand partners outlining useful information and resources to help avoid and combat fraud.

How to spot a fundraising scam

Age UK and other charities are very busy asking for money and we want to clarify how we do that, how to stay safe whilst donating and examples of scams that we have been made aware of.

Scams awareness guidance

Information to increase awareness of scams, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak, that is suitable for all audiences.

Suggested scams social media posts

Some suggested social media posts that local Age UKs can post to raise awareness of scams.