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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Shock of financial abuse of elderly in Cumbria

Scores of people are losing money to someone they trusted to look after their finances, new figures have shown.

Mike Forrester photo
DS Mike Forrester

The scale of the problem was revealed as the county council launched a new safeguarding campaign and reported 246 cases of “financial abuse”.

Nearly half the cases have been investigated by Cumbria’s social care team, which reported financial abuse as the loss of money to someone who had consent to look after it, or who obtained consent by fraud.

Detective Superintendent Mike Forrester, from Cumbria Police, said: “People can commit financial abuse and fraud in a number of ways. It is no surprise that as the internet has become more prevalent in people’s lives it has also become a key target for fraudsters.

“I would urge anyone to be very cautious about giving out any personal or financial information – whether that is over the phone, in person or online.

“Only provide these details when you are sure the person or business you are speaking to is legitimate and is requesting the information for appropriate reasons.”

He said the victims were often vulnerable people, unable to understand the implications of giving out personal details.

“Vulnerable adults can have a number of people visiting them at their home, which can also put them at risk of financial abuse through manipulation or having sensitive information stolen,” he added.

“If you know someone who you think may be exploited financially, please report it.”

More information about fraud and financial abuse visit www.cumbria.police.uk/advice-and-information. Alternatively, phone social care offices in Carlisle on 01228 221590, Eden on 01768 812243, Allerdale on 01900 706301 and Copeland on 01946 506352.

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