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Beat the scammers

Beat the scammers

Peter Ray, a volunteer with our telephone befriending service Silver Talk, is on a mission to stop scammers in their tracks. He shares some tips on how to avoid being caught out by the fraudsters.

"Scamming is just another word for fraud and it’s an awful business but there are things we can all do to protect ourselves from being tricked out of money”.

So, how does scamming work?

“Criminals basically prey on people’s trust, emotions and feelings, using sob stories or tempting us with offers we can’t resist. They exert pressure so we don’t have time to think clearly and even impersonate people we trust in authority, like the police or the bank. Their tactics might be sophisticated but their aim is simple – to get your bank details so they can steal your money.

I’ve been part of Age UK’s Beat the Scammer initiative which involves sharing information so people can be better prepared to spot and stop the shady ways of these criminals. The more we all talk about the issue and the more knowledgeable and vigilant we can become, the better chance we have at preventing scams.”

Use some of these golden rules to stay one step ahead of the scammers…

On the doorstep

  • Always check the ID of the caller. If you have any doubt at all, don’t let them in and don’t engage in conversation.
  • Simply say you’re not interested and close the door if you feel under any pressure. Don’t leave the door open and unattended.
  • Never hand over card details or cash on the doorstep. Scammers need just a few seconds to scan your card details so don’t give them
    the chance.

By phone

  • Never give out passwords or personal information over the phone, even if the caller asks nicely – or aggressively.
  • Say ‘sorry, I don’t do business over the phone’ or ‘I cannot make that decision right now, I will have to get back to you’ or ‘I need to speak to my daughter/son/partner because they deal with this sort of thing for me’.

Ask your phone provider to add a call blocker to your line. This screens callers – meaning they have to wait on the line after giving their name, so you have a chance to decide whether to accept the call. Regular callers such as family and the chemist can be installed and recognised so they are put straight through.

Register for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It allows you to opt out of unsolicited live sales and marketing calls, for free at

On your computer or tablet

  • Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols when creating passwords. Avoid obvious ones like your birthday or ‘password’.
  • Never transfer money into what is described as a ‘safe account’. A legitimate bank won’t ask you to do that. If in doubt, contact your bank yourself.
  • If you get an email from a sender you don’t know, don’t click any attachments or links because these can download malicious software that can obtain your personal details including passwords.
  • Always log out of online banking and close all apps when you’re finished.
  • Be careful not to post personal information online.
  • Use antivirus software and regularly ensure it’s updated.
  • Be wary of offers that appear to be too good to be true. They probably are. You cannot win a prize if you haven’t entered a competition!

To find out more about Silver Talk and the opportunity to either receive free weekly calls or volunteer as a telephone befriender call 0808 164 0111 or email

Get help or report a scam

Peter says: “If you do fall foul of a scammer, make sure you report it. Don’t be embarrassed or angry with yourself – it can happen to anyone and by reporting it you might save someone else from being deceived.”

If you think you’ve uncovered a scam, been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the website

Report the incident to the police by calling 101 if you know the suspect or they are still in the area. Call your bank and cancel any recurring payments that have been set-up by the scammers.

If you believe you’ve been victim to a scam where the caller or email claims to be from Karbon Homes, give us a call on 0808 164 0111 and we’ll be able to clarify if we’ve been in touch with you. It’s really helpful if you can tell us as much information as possible about the contact so we can investigate, so hold on to those messages, emails, letters or phone numbers.

You can always check your balance using your MyKarbon online account, it’s one of the safest ways to make a rent payment, turn to page 14 for how to register.

Peter Ray, a volunteer with our telephone befriending service Silver Talk, is on a mission to stop scammers in their tracks. He shares some tips on how to avoid being caught out by the fraudsters. 

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4 August 2021

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