Supporting victims of scams in Sutton

Published Monday, 1st March 2021

More than half of over 65-year-olds have been the target of a scam - yet only 5% of victims report the matter. 

Trudy, an Environmental Protection Officer in our Trading Standards team, works with partners such as the Police and Adult Social Care colleagues to identify and support victims of scams and doorstep crime. 

Scams are schemes to con you out of your money, for example through lotteries, clairvoyants, investment and wills. Doorstep Crime is when someone tries to sell you something or gets you to sign up for something in your home, someone else’s home or your place of work; they may be a genuine salesperson, but sometimes it’s a scam.

Trudy carries out reassurance visits; fits call blocking units for managing unwanted phone calls; offers door, cheque book and phone stickers; and advises how to spot and stop scams.

photo of scam mail

“Being able to support and help our most vulnerable residents who have become victims of crime is probably the most satisfying and rewarding part of my job,” says Trudy.

The team recently helped a 92-year old resident who had 32 bags of scam mail hidden under her stairs. Her bedroom was piled high with items she had ordered to be entered into various prize draws. 

It is estimated that she had been responding to scam mail for over ten years, spending an average of £500 per month - a total of £60,000.

“It’s great to see the smile on the face of an elderly resident when you are able to resolve their problems, for example by stopping really upsetting scam phone calls by installing a call blocker,” says Trudy.

COVID-19 has made it difficult to follow up on complaints with face to face visits. However, Trudy has been able to support residents through phone calls, carry out essential visits and deliver virtual training to colleagues, voluntary groups and associations.

Our Trading Standards Team, who work hard to maintain a fair and safe trading environment for businesses and consumers in Sutton, has been awarded the Friends Against Scams Organisation title for its work in promoting awareness of scams. 

This is one of hundreds of services we provide in Sutton. But we are facing a big challenge. More than 70% of our budget goes towards caring for Sutton’s vulnerable adults and children. Following COVID, more people are needing our help, while the cost of services is increasing.

Find out how we plan to protect those needing our care and support Sutton’s recovery over the next 12 months.

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