Age UK East Sussex and Edna Johnson Wills Trust Scams Prevention service was officially launched at Eastbourne Fire Station last week.
As the main county wide charity working with local older people, Age UK East Sussex developed this vital service to support people who have been, or are at risk of being scammed. With 73 per cent of all scam victims being aged 70 or over and 65 per cent living alone, often socially isolated with little or no support, Age UK East Sussex is well placed to reach this vulnerable group.
An Age UK spokesperson said, “It is staggering that in Sussex over a three month period those most at risk lost an average of £23,000, with the highest individual loss of nearly £500,000.”
A consultation conducted by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s Elders’ Commission concluded that fear of scams is the highest rating concern for older people in relation to community safety.
Falling victim to a scam can be devastating not only due to the effects of financial loss but it can also lead to depression, further isolation and early onset of other health issues.
The new Age UK East Sussex Service aims to address these issues by drawing up an individual support plan together with an Age UK East Sussex service co-ordinator to meet the clients’ needs including referring them to activities to encourage reintegration and prevent social isolation. Trained and vetted volunteers will be aware of scam activity and provide advice and support when necessary, allowing potential victims to be identified and scam victims to be supported through volunteer support.
Referrals can be made by people who have been affected themselves or their friends, family, The National Trading Standards Scams Team, East Sussex Trading Standards or other third parties on their behalf.
The launch event on May 11 was attended by staff and trustees of Age UK East Sussex, trustees of the Edna Johnson Wills Trust, East Sussex Trading Standards and the National
Trading Standards Scams Team, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Councillor Maurice Watson, Councillor David Watts and other local partners.
All came along to find out more about the service and how they could work with Age UK East Sussex in identifying vulnerable people likely to be targeted by scammers, or support for those that have been a victim of scams.
For more information please call 01273 476704 (ext 208) or visit ageukeastsussex.org.uk.
This service is funded by the Edna Johnson Wills Trust and the Office of the PCC.
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