Western Australian seniors who may be vulnerable to scams and rip-offs are being given help to recognise the signs of fraud with the launch today of a home education kit.
Communities Minister Sue Ellery said the Scam Education Kit was a user-friendly resource that contained examples of real-life scams and important advice to help prevent elderly people becoming victims of fraud.
“Alzheimer’s Australia WA put the kit together after receiving $50,000 from the State Government’s Criminal Proceeds Fund to undertake a survey about the type and frequency of scams targeting elderly people, in particular those with dementia,” Ms Ellery said.
“The research report has guided the development of the education kit, which contains a copy of the report, samples of different types of scams, proforma letters and tips to help identify and avoid scams.”
The Minister said it was concerning that fraudsters preyed on the vulnerable and weak and increasingly were targeting people who suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s because they were seen as easy targets.
“Unfortunately there are dishonest and unethical people who try to make money by ripping off seniors and other vulnerable people in the community,” she said.
“Scams can have a devastating effect on elderly people who, in good faith, hand over their hard-earned savings and then realise that they will never see their money again.
“The Carpenter Government is committed to protecting seniors and vulnerable people from this type of behaviour, and keeping their financial interests safe.”
Developed in partnership with the Department for Consumer and Employment Protection, the kit contains these golden rules to avoid being scammed:
· if it looks too good to be true, it probably is;
· use your common sense; the offer may be a scam;
· always seek independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time or commitment;
· remember there is no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme;
· do not agree to offers or deals straight away. Tell the person that you are not interested or that you want to get some independent advice before making a decision;
· never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust;
· check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank; and
· keep your credit card and ATM cards safe. Do not share your personal identity number (PIN) with anyone, and do not keep any written copy of your PIN with the card.
Ms Ellery said the kit was in line with the aims of the Government’s Active Ageing strategy, which was adopted in 2004 with a Budget injection of $3.1million over four years.
The strategy focused on health and well-being, employment and learning opportunities, community awareness and participation, protection and security, and planning and the built environment.
The Scam Education Kit is being distributed to community groups and aged care residential facilities, and is available by phoning Alzheimer’s Australia WA on 9388 2800 during business hours.
Minister's office - 9213 7150