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Elderly abuse charity says pensioners should be protected by cameras

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SECURITY cameras should be installed in the homes of pensioners after

complaints of theft and fraud against elderly victims doubled in a year, according
to a leading charity.
Action on Elder Abuse estimated that money and goods worth £18 million was
stolen from elderly victims, many of whom were targeted by friends, family or carers.
Calls from pensioners who believed they were suffering financial abuse rose from
3,500 to 7,529 in 2015.
Separate figures showed adult social services were alerted to 21,935 cases of
alleged theft and fraud against elderly victims in the 12 months to March last year.
Of those 4,168 complaints related to carers. Two-thirds of cases registered by the
Health and Social Care Information Centre involved allegations of financial abuse of
the elderly by friends and family.
The figures have been linked in part to elderly people being cash-rich, thanks to
generous pensions and benefits such as the winter fuel allowance, in combination
with a rise in people coming and going from their homes to provide care. It has led
AEA to advise concerned relatives or friends of vulnerable elderly people to consider using surveillance systems, including hidden spy-style cameras, to catch thieves red-handed.
The charity's chief executive, Gary FitzGerald, said: "Theft from older people is on the increase and worryingly the thieves are often people they should be able to trust, care workers, family and so-called friends.
"When money or valuables go missing it can be too easy to assume that the older person is at fault and has made a mistake, but we would encourage people to be far more suspicious and to investigate further.
"Hidden cameras are a proven way of checking out what is happening and gathering evidence and we would recommend people give serious consideration to this option. It is hard for a thief to blame the poor memory of the victim when caught red-handed on camera."
The Care Quality Commission has issued guidance on installing surveillance in private homes and recognised that in some cases covert or overt cameras "may be the best or only way to ensure safety or quality of care".
Such devices can now be bought cheaply on the high street, with some models coming ready concealed within decoy household items, such as a bottle of air freshener.


Fake letterboxes could ruin you financially

FAKE letter boxes are being placed on residential properties by fraudsters in an attempt to harvest the mail. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has noticed an increase in reports of scams of this nature. Residents are sometimes unaware of the fake letterbox as the fraudsters will periodically remove the item, which may leave notable markings.The mail is then used to open various lines of credit with financial providers in the name of the innocent resident.
Action Fraud issued the following advice:
1. Be vigilant and check for any suspicious activity, tampering of your post/letterbox or for suspicious glue markings on the wall.
2. Check all post received from financial institutions, even if it appears unsolicited.
3. Consider reporting theft of mail to your local police force and any cases of identity fraud to Action Fraud.
4. If you have been a victim of identity fraud consider Cifas Protection Registration
5. If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

Appeal to Gurkhas who may have lost 'investment' cash

AN APPEAL has been made to find Gurkhas across the country who
have been affected by an alleged fraud in which victims are said to
have lost millions of pounds they had invested.
Almost 300 throughout the UK, are feared to have been ploughed
£8.5m into a scheme with CWM Limited (Capital World Markets).
The fund, which offered a five per cent return to investors, is currently
under investigation by City of London of Police. Last year 13 people
were arrested and released on bail and the investigation is still ongoing.
Now law firm Fieldfisher said it is launching a class action on behalf
of some of the alleged victims. The firm said it appeared that very little
of the investors’ funds were actually traded by CWM. The leader of
hundreds of Gurkhas, who does not want to be named, said the Gurkha
community has been left shocked.
“This has been a really tough period for all the people who invested
in the scheme with CWM,” he said. “We all have extended families in
Nepal and a lot of those who have invested have grown up together in the UK. We have lost a lot of money and our pride too.”
He added: “Not all of the investors from the Gurkha community can speak good English. Sadly, though, I was one of the people to invest money in the scheme because I believed in it.
“I have served in the Army for many years and still do. I also have a wife and children and it has affected us greatly. “I just hope things will be put right now so we can get on with things as best we can. But we need as many people who invested with CWM to come forward.”
Last year City of London Police sent letters to 60 members of the UK Gurkha and Nepalese community urging them to get in contact as part of its investigation into the CWM scheme.
At the time the police said detectives uncovered the names while gathering evidence and believe they may have fallen victim to a major investment fraud.
Detectives held briefings at military bases to make a direct appeal to serving Gurkhas to come forward if they have invested money in the CWM five per cent scheme.


Gurkhas with Joanna Lumley In London

Police warn drivers: Beware of motorway snatch gangs

ESSEX Police has issued a warning to motorway drivers after the second theft of a vehicle in three days and it has led to a change in police tactics until the criminals are caught.
On July 26, a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue flashing light requested a grey Volkswagen Transporter van pull over on the anti-clockwise M25 between junctions 27 for the M11 and 28 for Chelmsford.
Three men purporting to be police officers made the driver get out of the vehicle. No weapons were seen but one of the men had handcuffs.
Two of the men then got in the van before both vehicles drove off. The driver did not get the index number of the Mondeo. The stolen vehicle was registration RE16 UCV.
Armed robbers seize Mercedes van on M11 near Hatfield Heath
Four days earlier on the M11 near Hatfield Heath, a white Mercedes Sprinter van was stopped and then stolen by four men - one of whom had a firearm - in a silver Ford Mondeo.
The Mondeo was registration LO62 FOU and the stolen Mercedes van KR60 NHZ. The two occupants of the van were left at the side of the road unharmed.
DCI Stuart Smith from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who is leading both investigations due to their similarities, said: "In a direct response to these incidents occurring a direction has been given to our officers that they should not, unless in emergency circumstances, be in an unmarked car and attempt to stop a driver.
"We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding. Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans.
"Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine."
Anyone with any information about either of the incidents is asked to contact detectives on 101.

Beware when you hunt for an online bargain

BARGAIN hunters could be unwittingly handing over their personal details to criminal gangs if they sign up for online discount vouchers.
Police have warned shoppers about a spate of fraudulent vouchers which have been circulating on Facebook.
It comes after Aldi issued their own warning about vouchers offering 40% off at their stories, which turned out to be false.
Members of the public could be unknowingly giving their personal details to criminal gangs when they sign up to websites offering the bargains.
Now police have urged social media users to be vigilant at
all times when using devices that can store personal information.
A spokesman said: “The public needs to be on guard against vouchers appearing on their social media newsfeeds claiming to offer incredible savings.
“Criminals are constantly devising more complex and devious methods to unlawfully take your information and your savings – which is why fraudulent offers can often appear official, however if an offer looks too good to be true, it more than likely is.
“Be cautious when online, at a time when savings are so often stretched it is especially important that we don’t fall victim and instead take what measures we can to limit risk."