Commissioner supports PSNI campaign which aims to ‘empower older people’ to stay safe from scammers
The ScamwiseNI Partnership has launched a campaign to help empower older people and those who are not regularly online to stay safe against scammers.
The six month long initiative aims to raise awareness and educate the public by using more traditional media to reach older people who may not be online as often. The campaign material will feature on radio and newspaper advertisements, along with posters in public transport spaces, including bus shelters and inside buses.
The ScamwiseNI Partnership was started in 2016 by organisations including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Department of Justice, The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Policing Board, in response to the growing number of scams circulating in NI.
Over past 6 years the partnership has expanded – now over 40 partners from public bodies, voluntary sector organisations and financial institutions.
Lending his support to the newest campaign, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch said;
“Scams are still a huge source of concern for lots of older people. Since we launched the ScamwiseNI Partnership with PSNI in 2016, knowledge and awareness of scams have increased, but unfortunately so have the scams. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to keep spreading awareness and ensuring that older people, in particular, who can be considered an easier target by scammers, are aware of how to spot a scam and how to stop it too. This is a really important campaign and I would encourage younger people to talk to their older parents and grandparents to help spread the message and ensure they protect their money, which very often they have worked all their life to save.”
Chair of ScamwiseNI, Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Superintendent Gerard Pollock said:
"Older people have higher levels of fear of scams and are perceived as vulnerable to scammers, and those who are not digitally active are also at greater risk of losing money in scams. When that does happen, aside from the financial impact, this can really affect a person’s quality of life, their well-being and confidence in themselves.
“Too often there’s an unwarranted sense of stigma or embarrassment and feeling they've been tricked by someone they thought was genuine. In truth, the lengths gone to by criminal scammers today are extensive, and many of us now have to take a minute to question that email, that call or that text message before acting.
"From listening to older people, scams is one of their biggest issues of concern, and by using more traditional media in this campaign, we hope to reach more of our older people who may not be online as often. The aim is to empower them with key ways to stop a scam before they lose money."
Chief Superintendent Pollock said: "Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure at home, but unfortunately the list of scams is never ending, and many are highly sophisticated. We hope this campaign will help raise awareness among older people, and their loved ones, and encourage conversations on how to stop scams. Ultimately, we hope it will help reduce the number of scams against older people and help them stay safe."
Stop - do not feel rushed by any time pressure or deadline presented by the caller or text message. Genuine organisations or financial institutions will always give you time to consider your options without putting you under pressure. Time pressure is used by scammers to rush you to a decision.
Report - If you have been the victim of a scam you can report it to the PSNI at www.PSNI.police.uk/makeareport/ or by calling on 101. You can also report to www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040. In an emergency always call 999.