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Fraud survey

A recent survey in the Avon and Somerset area sought to gauge the views of residents aged 60 and over on dealing with fraud. The survey forms part of the Home Office’s ‘Spot It, Stop It’ fraud awareness campaign, being piloted in the Avon and Somerset Police force area. Focus groups were also carried out on behalf of the Home Office to identify the fraud advice that residents felt was most important.

The key pieces of advice were identified as: taking time to make decisions, checking the identity of callers, not giving out personal information and reporting suspicious incidents. As for the survey results, less than a quarter of residents said they would be likely to ask for time to think about it if approached by people selling goods or services and less than half of those interviewed said they would check that callers were from a genuine organisation. However, more than half said they would never give out personal information and the vast majority said they would be likely to report suspicions of, or actual instances of, fraud.

Dr Kirstie Cogram, head of the Economic Crime Unit at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “The survey results and focus group research has been a great opportunity for us to find out more about the community’s views on the issue of fraud, including doorstep, online and telephone fraud, and the ways they approach it. It is very positive that so many people said they wouldn’t give out personal information and we also receive great support from the public who often tell us about suspicious incidents.

“However, the figures tell us that most people find it difficult to ask a caller to come back or call back another time or to carry out checks to ensure the caller is genuine. It can be difficult when you are faced with an unexpected doorstep or telephone caller, for example, not to feel pressured but our message to people is that you are within your rights to take your time and make any checks that you need. Genuine callers will not mind waiting or coming back at a later date.”

The Spot It, Stop It campaign, which is also supported by Action Fraud, Trading Standards, Victim Support, Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers, is running in the force area until mid December. Police, and the Home Office, encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with fraud prevention advice and to pass it on to friends and family.


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