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Whilst there has been a decrease in some forms of crime since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, other areas of criminality have taken advantage of people being at home more and increased social isolation.
Within Argyll and Bute the number of frauds being reported to police has nearly doubled when compared to the same period last year.
Younger people more likely to report being a victim of fraud to police, whereas older people don’t report it due to embarrassment, pride and fear of having their independence taken from them.
Research by Age Concern UK has shown that an elderly victim of bogus crime is more likely to die or enter full time residential care within two years of being a victim. This is a very frightening statistic, but shows the massive impact that becoming a victim of crime can have on our elderly residents.
Over the past few years, telephone frauds (someone pretending to be from Amazon, BT, your bank or other company) were decreasing as more and more people were going online. However, since lockdown for Covid-19, we have seen a startling rise in telephone frauds – this is due to the scammers knowing that people are at home to answer the phone due to lockdown, but also they know many vulnerable people are more socially isolated and less likely to have people at their house to intervene in these calls.
The aim of the Cared for at Home Network is to be able to alert carers (both paid and unpaid), befrienders or someone else with regular contact with elderly or vulnerable people to incidents like this in Argyll and Bute so that they can let their elderly clients’ relatives know about scams that are happening in there area. This will also include where there are incidents of bogus crime.
The Cared for at Home Network has been created by PC Laura Evans, Police Scotland who added: ‘We know that our elderly and vulnerable communities are more vulnerable to being targeted by telephone scams and bogus callers. The Cared for at Home Network allows us to raise awareness throughout vulnerable groups including the elderly who are often not on social media. It is hoped that through sharing information and raising awareness that we can help protect those at greatest risk from this type of crime.’
Within Oban, Lorn and the Isles, the Cared for at Home Network has so far been created for North Argyll Carers Centre, Crossroads North Argyll, the Dochas Carers Centre, The Good Care Group, ALI Energy, Carr Gomm, Citizens Advice Bureau and Argyll Care and Repair.
Peter Minshall, centre manager of the Dochas Carers Centre said: ‘The Dochas Carer Centre, along with many other organisations in Argyll who support unpaid carers, welcomes the new Cared for at Home Network being introduced by Police Scotland and views this smart initiative as a practical way we can all work together to ensure a safer crime free community.’
The Cared for at Home Network is hosted by Neighbourhood Watch Scotland which is a communication system which allows Police Scotland to send out timely, targeted alerts on issues of crime, safety and resilience. Alerts are sent out to people within the Cared for at Home Network at no cost, by email or text depending on urgency of message and your own preference.
If you would like to know more about this or would like to be involved, please contact PC Laura Evans, Local Authority Liaison Officer for Argyll and Bute at firstname.lastname@example.org