New scams are appearing all the time. The following are some of the new and emerging scams identified either by National Trading Standards or by Natwest, which could be used to target older people.
Energy saving scams
The end of the Green Deal has coincided with increasing numbers of cases involving energy-related scams dealt with Trading Standards officers – many focused around nuisance calls.
Criminals selling items on social media
The trend is for an increasing variety of what can be bought through Facebook, Gumtree and other sites – for example there’s been a spate of ‘clocked cars’ (where a car’s mileage is adjusted downwards to add value) being sold in this way.
Telephone preference scams
A growing number of companies are selling ‘call blocking’ devices that are ineffective and lead to unexpected charges. Known as telephone preference scams, the scammers cold-call people and claim to be from the Telephone Preference Service, and then charge them for registration or for useless call blocking devices.
Consumers or businesses are enticed to sign up to a free trial of a product or to pay a small fee to access an offer. But the offer is – intentionally or not on the part of the company – misleading and so without realising it, the victim is then trapped into making costly monthly payments without their informed consent, which can be difficult to stop.
Social media spying
People might not realise how much information they are giving away on social networking sites, but to a fraudster the posts can be very helpful in setting up a scam.
Malicious software on smartphones
Natwest expects that malware or malicious software threats will grow among mobile devices.
Bogus Brexit investments
Consumers should be wary of fake investment opportunities. For example, fraudsters may email customers, warning that Brexit will affect their savings, and that they urgently need to move them into a seemingly plausible, but actually fake, investment product.