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How to protect elderly relatives from bogus callers

Being the victim of a bogus caller can have a dramatic effect on you. Having your money or valuables stolen is bad enough. But the shame and humiliation that older people can feel after being scammed can be just as bad. There are steps that you can take to prevent this from happening though.

March 15, 2018

Bogus caller button alarms

Keeping your loved ones safe from bogus callers and doorstep criminals

If there’s one thing on TV that’s guaranteed to get anyone’s blood boiling, it’s Rogue Traders. It’s a show that exposes and tracks down people who give customers a raw deal. The rogue traders usually cold-call vulnerable people at home. Then they claim to offer useful services, make repairs or carry out work on a house, garden or driveway. But they’re con-artists who charge rip-off prices for work that’s shoddy or unnecessary.

Sadly, the over 60s are often targeted by doorstep criminals like this. But it can be tricky to decide who’s genuine and who should be avoided. As well as the rogue traders, we’ve all heard stories of bogus callers. They try to get into a home to steal or get personal details, by pretending to be someone they’re not. They’ll say they’re from the council, or a charity collector, or have come to read the meter.

Bogus callers are cunning, creative, and often very convincing. Too many people have been fooled into letting them in, only to discover their valuables have been stolen while they were distracted. Having your money and valuables taken is rough. But the shame and humiliation that older people can feel after being scammed can be just as bad. It’s a nasty shock to realise that someone has taken advantage of you.

Of course, most people who ring our doorbells have a genuine reason for doing so. But it pays to help your loved ones be on their guard, in case bogus callers are operating in the area. These people can be very plausible. To avoid them, there are a number of practical things to remember. It’s also worth looking at tailor-made solutions like bogus caller buttons.

Please make sure that your loved one is confident about asking for (and checking) identification. Genuine callers will often have a photo ID and will be very happy to show it. If the friend or relative needs their glasses to check the ID, get them into the habit of closing the door before fetching them. If they’re still not sure, there’s a simple rule - tell the caller to come back another day. That will put most con-artists off, and it buys some time to check whether caller is genuine.

Simple security measures play a part, too. Installing a door chain doesn’t take long, but provides a bit of extra re-assurance – so long as it’s used. It’s also important to lock back or side doors before opening the front. That’s because con-artists often work in pairs. While one person distracts the homeowner, the other gets in and grabs your valuables.

 

Bogus caller buttons and alarms

You may have also heard about bogus caller buttons. These are positioned by a front door, and can be pressed quickly and easily if there’s an unexpected visitor. This sends a signal to a response team, who listen in via an alarm unit to assess the situation. A light lets you know that this is happening. Using a two-way speaker they help to decide whether you have an unwanted caller, suggesting the questions you should ask. If necessary, they can get in touch with a nominated contact, or even the police.

 

About Taking Care Personal Alarms

At Taking Care, bogus caller buttons are just one of the services we offer to give additional protection around your loved one’s home.

We’ve been providing personal alarms for the elderly for more than 35 years and now help over 70,000 people stay in the homes they love. We offer 24/7 help at the touch of an alarm pendant or personal alarm unit, plus a medical support line staffed by qualified nurses. We also have pharmacists on hand to answer questions on pills and prescriptions.


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