A band of volunteers has been recruited by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to give peer-to-peer support to older victims of fraud and cyber-crime.
The Senior Scam Busters, which comprises of 13 predominantly older and retired people, will be trained to give fraud advice and guidance as well as signpost people to specific agencies when necessary.
More than 1,000 reports of fraud and scams are recorded every month across Greater Manchester and a large percentage of these are made by older members of the public who have fallen victim to telephone scams, online scams and doorstep crime.
The newly formed team will identify and contact victims over 60 years old from the reports, giving practical help and advice over the telephone to reduce the risk of them falling victim again.
The introduction of the Citizen’s Contract in October, saw GMP calling on communities to work together to create a safer Greater Manchester. The Senior Scam Busters will become an integral part of the policing family, attending community engagements and educating vulnerable people about fraud and how they can protect themselves from the scammers.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: “Keeping Greater Manchester safe is no longer just a police responsibility and the introduction of the Scam Busters team is crucial to supporting current demand and increasing our engagement with the communities we serve.
“Our new skilled and knowledgeable recruits emphasise how valuable older people are in society and by creating an environment where volunteers can socialise with each other and the wider GMP and partner family, we can work together to carry out this vital work.”
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes said: “More than 1,000 people a month are deliberately targeted and tricked into sharing their personal information – with money being taken. I have personally experienced attempted fraud over the past few weeks and I know how disturbing and upsetting it is to be a target for fraudsters.
“The Senior Scam Busters will be able to offer invaluable support to older, more vulnerable people to reassure those who have been targeted and stop people becoming victims of fraud in the future. This is a really innovative approach to preventing fraud and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the coming year.”
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040