Thousands of scams and unwanted doorstep calls were reported throughout Wales in the past year, a charity claims today. Age Cymru, which will launch a campaign against scams and doorstep crime later this month, has released new figures ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Saturday 15 June.
It discovered at least 1,000 unwanted doorstep calls were reported to Trading Standards in the 12 months from February 2012 to February 2013, plus more than 1,600 mail, phone and internet scams.
In Aberconwy 29 complaints were made about cold calling of which all were investigated and 4 resulted in prosecution.
But a spokesman for the charity, which campaigns on behalf of older people, said the figures were probably the tip of the iceberg.
“According to the Citizens Advice Bureau only 5% of scams are reported,” said Age Cymru’s campaigns co-ordinator Gerry Keighley.
“We could be looking at as many as 50,000 scams and unwanted doorstep calls in one year in Wales and in a great many cases the potential victims were older people.”
The information, compiled under the Freedom of Information Act, shows there is a drastic need for action, says the charity.
“Awareness campaigns alone are not protecting older people,” commented Mr Keighley.
“We believe it is time the companies who deliver the scams to people’s homes, such as Royal Mail, telephony companies and internet providers should shoulder more of the responsibility.
“We also believe the Welsh Government should consider a major increase in the size and scope of ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ to keep away some of the rogue traders who prey on older people.”
Guto Bebb MP said “I am grateful to Age Cymru for their work in exposing and highlighting the scale of this problem. No Cold Calling Zones are one way in which doorstep criminals can be deterred and the work carried out by local police and Trading Standards to encourage streets and communities to sign up to No Cold Calling zones is important.”
“They have proven to be successful and I am keen to see them expanded further, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of older people living.”
Among measures Age Cymru will be calling for in its campaign is more filtering of suspicious post by Royal Mail and intervention to help suspected victims.
It also wants to see older people provided with the best possible level of internet security.