PCC funding key roles to protect older people from fraud and cybercrime
“These figures confirm the concerns that my Elders’ Commission consultation identified amongst older people across Sussex. Cyber crime and fraud is a growing threat with fraudsters becoming more sophisticated, using technology to industrialise their attacks across international borders and targeting vulnerable older people in particular.
“We believe that there is still substantial under-reporting of fraud and cyber crime. Although scams are fraud and fraud is a crime, the word scam can imply foolishness on the part of the victim who, according to my Elders’ Commission report, is often too embarrassed to report that they have been targeted.
“Sussex Police’s Operation Signature has had a tremendous impact on raising awareness in particular of older people’s vulnerability to fraudsters. To further support Op Signature, I have this week agreed to fund a dedicated Vulnerable Person Caseworker to identify and protect those people most at risk.
“I have also funded roles with Age UK East Sussex and Action on Elder Abuse to help our older citizens avoid fraud and also to help people recover from financial abuse.
“Over the coming months, my Elders’ Commission members will be working with Sussex Police to start a programme of risk assessments and advice talks across the county, to test if our senior citizens recognise the range of potential fraud threats, how to stay safe and who to report problems and suspicions to.
“This week City of London Police Commander Christopher Greany, who is the national coordinator for economic crime, described the approach of Sussex Police through Operation Signature and the work of our Sussex Elders’ Commission as one of the best he has seen.
“We cannot rest on our laurels, however, and we must also ensure that, with so many statutory and voluntary agencies tackling scams and fraud, we have consistent prevention messages, a “no wrong door” approach when victims call for help, and seamless collaboration and data sharing. I am delighted that Sussex Police have such an excellent team focused on tackling fraud and I am very grateful to my Elders’ Commission members for their dedication and passion to protect older people.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud or you suspect someone you know may be, please call 101. The information the police collect helps them build the intelligence picture that successfully fights the fraudsters.”