North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is supporting Age Cymru’s Scams Awareness Month in May which aims to put an end to phone, doorstep and internet scams.
Age Cymru research reveals that more than 2,500 scams were reported to trading standards departments in Wales between February 2012 and February 2013, yet this figure could be the tip of the iceberg as the Office of Fair Trading believes that only 5% of scams are ever reported, which means that up to 50,000 could have been committed.
Mr Isherwood is already supporting Age Cymru’s ‘Scams and Swindles’ campaign, which is calling for Welsh Government intervention to tackle inconsistent provision and enforcement of no-cold-calling zones across Wales and consequently provide more older people in Wales with protection from criminals, and has raised the matter in the Assembly Chamber on several occasions.
He said: “I very much welcome all that Age Cymru is doing to tackle this problem which many people across Wales are unfortunately falling victim to. It is vital that we make people aware of the various scams out there which include fake lotteries, psychics and rogue builders.
“Figures from The Office of Fair Trading suggest people in the UK lose £3.5 billion a year to scammers, with older people who fall prey to scammers losing an average £1,200 each.
“When I raised the issue with the First Minister in the Chamber earlier this year, I referred to Age Cymru’s call for no-cold-calling zones and for the Welsh Government to intervene to tackle the inconsistent provision and enforcement of these zones across Wales to protect older people. He replied that his program me for government sets out plans to extend no-cold-calling zones.
"However, programmes and plans are no substitute for action. If done properly, no-cold-calling zones are cheaper than painting yellow lines on the road and far cheaper than dealing with the consequences of scams and swindles. Therefore, let us tackle the postcode lottery and, perhaps, consider an opt-out scheme across Wales.”
Gerry Keighley from Age Cymru said: “Age Cymru is working hard to ensure that vulnerable older people are made aware of the threat of scams, especially people who may be isolated, lonely or live in remote communities.
"We are working with dementia sufferers and their carers to bring home the dangers of scams and we are equally concerned that younger people, especially family members and younger neighbours become more aware of the threat scammers pose to older people.”