With their high proportion of elderly residents, East and West Sussex are two of the counties most targeted by fraudsters – and those targeted are not always the very old.
In fact, Sussex as a whole has more victims in the 60-69 age bracket than the national average, with the usual loss amounting to £10,000 per victim.
Over a six month period ending in March, 359 older people in Sussex were victims of telephone-enabled computer service fraud where criminals called them saying that they needed to fix a problem with their laptop or PC. It was people aged 69 who were most affected.
The Sussex Elders’ Commission, which is made up of older citizens whose job it is to support, challenge and inform the work of the Sussex police and crime commissioner, recently met with the PCC and Commander Chris Greany (the national co-ordinator for economic crime)and colleagues from Sussex Police to hear how fraudsters are using email, websites, the postbox and telephone to target older and more vulnerable people.
Commander Greany made it clear that, although UK law enforcement and security agencies work very effectively against many fraudsters, the criminals are very often not even based in the UK, and so awareness and prevention of fraud are essential to tackling it.
Last year Sussex Police reduced courier fraud following an awareness campaign that was supported by partners and volunteers.
Later this month, the Elders’ Commission will be piloting a survey to test people’s awareness of the different types of fraud and offering simple tips to stay safe. They will also be working with Sussex Police fraud specialists and Neighbourhood Watch to conduct one-to-one fraud vulnerability assessments in their local communities.
Copies of the ‘Little Book of Big Scams’ will be available at the Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Awareness Event next Saturday (August 27) in Montague Street.
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