herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Elderly warned not to 'fall for cons' over Christmas period

Sean Moynihan of Alone
Sean Moynihan of Alone

Pensioners are being warned not to open their doors to strangers over the Christmas period as con artists prepare to scam the vulnerable.

Elderly charity Age Action Ireland has also advised them to fit front doors with security chains and peep holes.

It is understood a number of scammers have been busy knocking on doors across the city posing as door-to-door charity groups.

Dangers

Age Action spokesman Gerry Scully told the Herald that the organisation produced a ­number of leaflets highlighting the potential dangers posed by cold callers, including one ­entitled Scams And Frauds - How To Protect Yourself.

"The scam that older ­people are most vulnerable to are cold callers, so that's ­somebody ­calling at the door ­unannounced offering to do work," he said.

"Never open the door to strangers. Get a peep hole if you can, but certainly get a chain so that you don't have to open the door fully to strangers.

"People may call offering things like meals, or supposedly collecting for charities, but any bona fida charity will have proper ID.

"Before you let someone in, check with the company or the organisation they are representing. But do not call a mobile number. It has to be a landline."

Sean Moynihan, of ALONE, a charity that highlights issues facing older people living alone, told the Herald that the elderly may not be scammed any more than others, but the mental effect is far worse.

"Scams include opportunism, where a person calls to the door, perhaps asking to come in for a glass of water," he said.

Impostor

Ballymun councillor Paul McAuliffe said one such ­incident in his area saw an elderly woman bring someone in pretending to be working for a water company.

The person turned out to be an impostor, and took money from the woman's house.

"You're in a very ­vulnerable state there, because she's ­questioning herself and she's questioning why are they upstairs and eventually she was able to get them out of the house, but they did take money."

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