Conmen preyed on my parents

07:30 26 March 2014

The Sidmouth couple were receiving 100 pieces of scam mail every week, including claims for fake prizes, letters from clairvoyants and offers for sham medical products.

The Sidmouth couple were receiving 100 pieces of scam mail every week, including claims for fake prizes, letters from clairvoyants and offers for sham medical products.

Archant

A DAUGHTER has told of a ‘nightmare’ two-year battle to protect her elderly parents from fraudsters - who were swindling the couple out of £2,000 a month.

Some of the scam mail received by the elderly coupleSome of the scam mail received by the elderly couple

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous to protect the identity of her loved ones, described how they became targets for scammers who were sending 100 pieces of mail every week, including claims for made-up prizes, appeals from bogus charities and offers for sham medical products.

Her parents, both Sidmouth residents, suffer from dementia and had become willing participants in the scams – oblivious to the fraud until she stepped in to help.

She has spoken out to warn others of the extent to which residents in the town are preyed on by crooks from around the globe.

“It has been such a traumatic experience,” she said. “You just want to make sure your elderly relatives can stay in their own home and have enough money to live on – which they wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t got involved.”

Some of the poor quality medical products peddled by the scammers were specifically targeted at pensionersSome of the poor quality medical products peddled by the scammers were specifically targeted at pensioners

The problem began two years ago after her parents entered a competition that had come in the post, and quickly became worse after their details were shared among fraudsters as part of a ‘suckers list’.

“I realised it was a problem when I saw this post everywhere in their house,” she said. “To you and me it’s obvious these letters are a scam, but they just didn’t see it.”

One of the most common scams tells the recipient they have won a large cash sum, and that a small administration fee is required to claim the prize.

Another offers placebo medicines targeted at the elderly - creams claiming to help with arthritis and patches to cure various ailments.

But when she tried to intervene, her parents refused to believe they were being conned.

“They thought I was trying to control everything,” said the daughter. “It would lead to arguments because they didn’t want to stop – they were convinced they would win these prizes.

“The whole thing really has been a nightmare,” she said. “I really think we need to educate the community on what to look out for to help protect their loved ones.”

Over 65s lost £1.5billion to fraudsters last year in the UK. Mark McGlade, managing director of East Devon care provider Home Instead, said that the problem could be worse in places like Sidmouth.

He added: “Seven out of 10 over 65s in the UK are being targeted every week by scammers.

“We know that a higher proportion of older people fall foul of these scams, and there are a much higher proportion of older people in Sidmouth than in other parts of Devon.”

A free presentation looking at how to guard against online, postal and telephone scams is set to take place at Sidmouth Library on April 3 between 11am and noon.

n Do you know of somebody, or have you yourself been directly affected by similar fraudsters? Please write to:- harvey.gavin@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Other News Stories

A car crashed into a house in Ladymead, Sidmouth

Man, 21, arrested in relation to Ladymead incident

Read more
12:23
Alfington residents are calling for traffic controls in their village, the group is pictured alongside a 30mph sign that was hit by a lorry travelling through the village recently. Ref sho 5885-30-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Ongoing problems with speeding on Ottery’s outskirts have prompted residents to call for action - ‘before there is a fatality’.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:23
Reverend Mac Dick present prizes to the runners-up in Ottery Station logo competition

It is full steam ahead for Ottery’s community hub as its success is reflected in more than 100 competition entries to design a new logo.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:31
Beer primary school leavers with headteacher Martin O'Mahony. Ref shb 1500-30-15TI Picture: Terry Ife

Beer Primary School ‘is in safe hands’, says its outgoing headteacher.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:31
Kat and John Lort of The Loft with staff Karl Main and Dave Legg celebrate making the top 100 of the best restaurants outside London. Ref shs 5681-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The owners of a popular Sidmouth restaurant say they are ‘going out on a high’ after it was named one of the best places to eat at in the country.

Read more
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Catherine and Lex Cochrane ran the Ottery St Mary 10km to raise more than £350 for the Devon Freewheelers

A couple who embarked on a whirlwind two-year mission of marathon running and mountain climbing have donated their latest fundraising efforts to the Devon Freewheelers.

Read more
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Les Lane,last year's president of the Sid valley rotary presents the keys to Mo Ayling. Ref shs 1555-31-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Blackmore Gardens was buzzing all day as the Sid Valley Rotary Club’s summer fair returned in Saturday’s brilliant sunshine.

Read more
Friday, July 31, 2015
Paranormal activity or trick of the light? The supposed ‘ghost’ can be seen in the reflection of the mirror as  organist Nigel Ogden speaks.

This haunting image has left concert-goers wondering whether they weren’t the only ones enjoying the music – as a spooky shape resembling a ghost seemingly photo-bombs the shot.

Read more
Friday, July 31, 2015
Lion President Ian Skinner presenting cheques to the local winners of the 2nd and 3rd prizes in last Sunday’s main yellow duck race. Mrs Richelle Hull (to the left of Ian) received a cheque for £100, and Mrs Melanie Pugsley (far right in photo, holding daughter Farah) received a £75 cheque.

A range of good causes have received a welcome cash boost thanks to a record breaking year at Sidmouth’s annual duck derby.

Read more
Friday, July 31, 2015

Fire crews were called to tackle a major corn field blaze on Sidmouth’s coast path this morning (Friday).

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition


Devon's trusted business finder