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Preying on the elderly!! Beware!

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Preying on the elderly!! Beware!

Postby Caz » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:26 pm

My mum had a phone call today from an unknown woman. She asked my mum if she remembered her phoning in November about arthritis, then went on to ask my mum if she suffered from arthritis and had trouble doing a range of everyday things like bathing etc and said she could help her get attendance allowance - who wouldn't prick up their ears at the prospect of additional income, especially when you only have a pension to live on! She then arranged to visit my mum at home tomorrow to see how she can help. :?

My mum said she'd had a similar phone call last week as well, but didn't speak to the caller. I can't think of anyone other than my mum's doctor who would have any of her medical details, or anyone who would suspect my mum had arthritis. She's not on benefits or anything for Welfare Rights to have any of her personal information either, so I think it may be someone trying to sell disability aids such as baths etc.

There is no way this can be a legitimate call and it rings a lot of alarm bells with me. They've got her name and age from somewhere, probably the census, and as many elderly people do suffer from arthritis, they've made the call! They immediately put her off guard and got her confidence by saying they'd spoken to her before about it. I doubt my mum is the only one they've called either! To me this just smacks of preying on the elderly and vulnerable!

I intend to be there at the time this woman is paying my mum a visit and I'll let you know the outcome. But not every elderly person has a daughter who can watch over them!!!! My mum isn't stupid, (well, I wouldn't have said she is), but she's been sucked in by this! :twisted:

Does anyone know of any such scams?
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Andrew Daykin » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:53 pm

The only people I know who offer that service are NCC - they visited my parents to do a financial assessment for provision of Home Care and did a full benefits check at the same time.
I'm no expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:18 pm

But how did they know to go to your mum Andrew?

Nobody has mentioned arthritis to my mum, not even her doctor, though she obviously has it in her hands. Furthermore, my mum doesn't know who this woman is, or where she's from. If it were NCC, they'd have written to her rather than phoning out of the blue and believe me, it would have taken them longer than a day to make an appointment. There's no way they'd come out the next day. And, how would they know her phone number? Where would they have got my mum's personal information from? She's never been under NCC for anything, she's never been on benefits or anything either.

My gut feeling is that this is someone selling disability aids and using underhand methods of sales to dupe vulnerable pensioners! My mum's also on the TPL, so shouldn't be getting the cold calls by phone, but I know some companies don't even bother to check the list. :roll:
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Andrew Daykin » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:59 pm

It was all arranged by the Hospital care manager -

I bet its a sales trick as you suspect - time will tell .
I'm no expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:35 pm

I thought it would have been arranged Andrew. In my mum's case, there could have been no referals as she isn't under a hospital, fortunately.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby whitevanman » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:57 pm

Have a look at this document from the Moray council website

Scroll down to Orthopedic Beds

http://www.moray.gov.uk/downloads/file62300.pdf
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:51 pm

Mmm, thanks Whitey. My mum's not stupid or slow, but when someone phones and asks if you remember them calling 4 months ago, you start to rack your brain to remember and that puts you off your guard for the next questions they ask and before you know it you're snared! My mum usually tells callers she'll speak with her daughter who deals with her affairs, before she makes appointments and that usually puts them off. This time she didn't, but she must have been unnerved because she rang me straight away.

I wonder if the police want to know about these people? I'll see what tomorrow brings and will certainly report back on here. Other than that, how do we inform the elderly and vulnerable members of our community? I think something needs doing in parliament to make this kind of thing illegal to propertly protect those who need it.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:57 pm

I got to my mum's 15 minutes before this person was due to arrive and she'd already had a phone call from them asking if they could come earlier. My mum said no. Then they phoned again asking if they could come early as they were seeing someone else in the area. She told them they'd already asked and she'd already said no. They told her that it would be a man who was calling and she should check his identity and make sure he was number 52.

I'd already spoken to the local police earlier to ask if they knew of any scams. They didn't but they told me to get as many details as I could.

When I arrived at my mum's there was a car parked across the street with a bloke in it, I pulled up just a little way down the street and sat in the car. After a minute or two the other car pulled away. I decided to move my car around the corner out of the way just in case he was part of the plot and were checking the house out. I am so suspicious! :roll:

A Toyota Auris pulled up just after 2 o clock and a smartly dressed black man in his thirties got out and walked up the path. I opened the door to him and he said hello Mrs B, I'm Gary. I asked where he was from, he said he was from MAC. I asked what MAC stood for. He said Mobility Assistance Consultancy. I asked who'd sent him and he said I'd made an appointment with his office (he assumed I was my mum). He said they were a private company. I asked what he was selling and he said, nothing why what would you like to buy? I asked where he'd got my number from. He said his office had it. I asked who had given it them and he said they buy them. I told him the number was on the TPR and it was against the law for them to call. He said they don't know who is on the list. I said it was up to them to check. He said they have no way of doing that. I said there is a system for them to check and they should be aware of that.

I walked away from the door to get a pen and he followed me inside. I told him he hadn't been invited in, so could he please go back outside and I'd take his details. The man was hurrying back down the path as I was shouting after him for his phone number. He didn't give it to me! I managed to keep up with him down the path. He was mumbling that he didn't need this attitude as he headed for his car. I asked where his company was based as I needed to check, but he wouldn't talk to me again.

I said, OK then, well I'll take your car reg. I didn't swear at him or anything, I was really quite polite. When he got into the car he rolled it backwards before he pulled away, I was stood behind it writing down the reg, I think he was trying to scare me! But I got it anyway. It was AO59 EUY, though I think it was a hire car, which they probably change regularly so that's not going to help anyone. One of the neighbours came out to see if I needed assistance, but I don't think I did. In fact I had two of my brothers there but they both disappeared round the back - they said I was scary :lol:

I hope I scared him enough not to want to hassle any more elderly people - it probably won't make any difference. I don't think they'll be going to her house again anyway. I didn't find out what they were selling though, so I failed at that. :roll: He just didn't want to tell me anything.

The most worrying thing is that I don't think they actually did anything illegal, apart from phoning a number on the TPR. But they were certainly underhanded in the way they got into the house. If they're not actually breaking the law, the police can't do anything about them. They can get away with this and there's nobody to protect the elderly people they are targetting. The government needs to do more to protect against this kind of thing.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Wizard » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:10 pm

Well done Caz.
It's rather scary to think what could have happened, had you not been so vigilant.
Aren't the police willing to do anything about it?
The least they could do is trace the car registration number, and even if it is a hired car, they could find out who it had been hired out to.
I think this sort of "selling by stealth" needs clamping down on.
Your mother was lucky, she had you to deal with it.
Others may not be as lucky.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:40 pm

Exactly Wizard. It really worries me that some elderly and vulnerable people don't have relatives who can look out for them. It really makes me angry that there are people who operate like this as well.

The police can't really do anything as they didn't break the law and I can't report a crime as one wasn't committed. These people know this and stay just inside the law. That's how the get away with it. I'm going to write to John Mann about it.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Wizard » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:19 pm

Surely the police can run a check on the car and advise the company that their method of contacting people is wrong.
Although no offence has been committed (up to yet) it seems to me like it's pressure selling , and maybe a few words from the local Constabulary would let the company know that they are being watched.
If they speak to the company involved, it would come under the banner of CRIME PREVENTION, and perhaps stop them cold calling people.
You know as well as I do that it is only a matter of time before they con some lonely old lady out of her savings, to buy some type of over priced disability aid that she can ill afford.
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Re: Preying on the elderly?

Postby Caz » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:56 pm

I absolutely agree with you wizard. I have passed the details onto the police though I very much doubt this company will take the slightest bit of notice of what the police say because they'll already be fully aware of what they're doing. These con men and women have no scruples, so they won't care. It's usually the case that the company will change its name and move on just so they can't be kept tabs on. That's why they use hire companies for cars as well, so they can't be traced.

Yes, I know some little old lady will soon be conned out of her pension and that's why I'm spitting feathers :twisted: That's also why I'm posting on here! We need to make people aware of this.
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Re: Preying on the elderly!! Beware!

Postby Caz » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:09 pm

I've alerted the Warsop Age Concern about this, so they can make their local members aware. Please tell all the elderly people you know not to make appointments if anyone phones them out of the blue.

A doctor or Welfare Rights representative would write to them rather than phone them. If they are in any doubt they should ask the caller for a phone number and tell them they'll speak with a member of their family who will then call them back to arrange an appointment if needed.

Nobody who is calling legitimately would argue with this.
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Re: Preying on the elderly!! Beware!

Postby Caz » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:38 pm

I've just had an e.mail from someone who read this thread and alerted an elderly neighbour who had an appointment with someone today. She cancelled when they phoned again today. I'm really pleased someone has been stopped from being conned.

I hope the person who mailed me will post her story on here!

Please, please make all your elderly relatives and neighbours aware of this.
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Re: Preying on the elderly!! Beware!

Postby whitevanman » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:37 pm

I'm also sick to death of these phone calls but in my case its British Gas this time. Just been to see an elderly relation and from a letter had just swapped her supplier. As she was on the Age Concern electric tariff she could not have got it any cheaper. I've been trying to cancel it today for her but it's a nightmare. According to the letter she as 7 days cooling off, but according to BG she had waived this so the contract had gone through quicker than the letter had come out. There's a lot more to it, it'll take too long for all the details, but i've got to wait till Tuesday now before the next step.

What gets me mad is that in some cases you havn't got to talk to someone for many seconds before realising they may be confused. It then appears that they take advantage instead of saying cherio and ringing off.
As this happens several times ayear i'm not letting it drop this time and i am taking it as far as possible to try and get this sort of thing stopped.
As Caz says, they may not be doing anything illegal, and the answer's given over the phone may just be within legal replies, i certainly think it is highly immoral for companies to use thes tactics
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