Local Effort To Tackle Criminal Gangs That Target Elderly

Seeking new ways of protecting pensioners from con-artists

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Met Police Fraud Alert

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A high-level conference, which has been organised by Wandsworth town hall's community safety team, is drawing together a range of experts from organisations that are dedicated to supporting older people. They include representatives of charities, voluntary groups, sheltered housing teams, churches, GPs and NHS workers.

The conference, which takes place this Thursday (October 10th), will be attended by police officers from across London, neighbourhood watch co-ordinators, crime prevention officers, academics, staff from the fire service and representatives from other London borough community safety teams.

Delegates will hear information on the latest wave of scams that criminal gangs are using to steal money from older residents and the tactics that can be used to foil them.

The aim is to pass this information on to organisations and agencies that have regular contact with older people so that they can spread the message throughout the community and prevent older people from becoming victims of crime.

Wandsworth's cabinet member for adult social service,s Jim Maddan, who is a former Met police inspector and is currently the national chairman of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network for England and Wales, will be addressing the conference.

He said: "Sadly there are plenty of criminal gangs who specifically target older people. Some use long standing con tricks like masquerading as water company workers or saying they're from the gas board to gain entry into people's properties, but there are also other more sophisticated scams involving pretend phone calls from banks or credit card companies that are designed to trick older people into handing over their bank account details and PIN numbers.

"What this conference aims to do is bring together a range of experts who are actively involved in the fight against these criminal gangs.

"We will be sharing information about the latest tactics they are using and discussing the best ways of combating their nasty little scams.

"This information can then be passed on to potential victims through a network of organisations that work with older people. We want to make sure that as many older people as possible learn about the danger signals and learn what they can do to avoid falling foul of these tricksters."

The conference is being staged at Wandsworth Town Hall on Thursday, October 10.

Residents can learn more about the latest tactics employed by the scammers and obtain tips and advice on how to avoid being conned by visiting www.met.police.uk/fraudalert.

October 7, 2013