There is no let-up from criminals determined to grab our money through scamming, even from elderly people like my mum.
During lockdown, the conmen and women have taken full advantage of our move to online shopping. Fraud now accounts for a third of all crime in England and Wales.
The scammers move in on us in lots of ways. Every couple of weeks I receive a text or an email from a fake account informing me that if I just click here, I can pay for a parcel which hasn’t being delivered or my car tax is due, or HMRC wants to give me a rebate.
They are smart, and that parcels message is often timed for delivery to your phone in the early morning when you may not be alert to such mischief.
Some want to ‘help’ you set up a bank account to keep your cash safe. Then they empty it and move on to the next victim. Some ‘harvest’ your bank details to sell on.
Sadly, it is a crime which is under-reported as the gullible feel shame they have been duped.
It is particularly cruel for the scammers to target the elderly and the vulnerable.
My mum doesn’t want much in life. Decent grub, lots of sport and repeats of Calendar Girls on the TV and birds on her garden feeders will do.
One of her pleasures is regular phone calls from friends and family.
The telephone is her comforting link with the outside world. She natters to one pal she has known since 1947.
But what’s this? Scammers calling her and asking odd questions? Purportedly from her bank or energy supplier.
I’ve grabbed the receiver from her hands on many an occasion and uttered some choice words to the stranger on the line.
I’ve coached her to tell them to get lost but mum is polite. It’s in her nature to be helpful when she shouldn’t. I’ve witnessed her saying ‘no thanks’ eventually when the cricket on the TV offers a bigger pull than the dull chap on the phone.
A particularly persistent crook called her several times to tell her she was due a £40 rebate from Amazon and could they have her bank details? They rang back again and again.
What if her mind is not so sharp one day and she lets her guard down? The phone company have put her number on a list where anonymous calls are blocked, but still they come.
Keeping my dear mum safe and well is our family’s priority but we feel powerless. Surely the government could help us and many others on this one?