News item

Professionals meet to tackle scams

Scams are the one of the most serious types of financial crime affecting the elderly and those at risk of being targeted. They are committed by organised fraudsters. 

A free one-day conference for top-line practitioners, including leaders in the police, regulatory, social and health care, charitable and the financial services sector, together with academics, are discussing the best way forward to protect the vulnerable, from the increasing problem of trick callers and adverts, in Safeguarding Adults at Risk from Scams, at Brunel University, London, next week (June 16). 

The conference is jointly organized by Dr Priscilla Harries, Director of Occupational Therapy, Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies, and Mr Brian Smith, Joint Lead Officer, Crime and Disorder, Trading Standards Institute.  

“We hope to speed up the process of working together across sectors for the benefit of those at risk of being scammed,” explained Dr Harries. “It’s important that professionals learn how to recognize and deal with this problem.”

Mr Smith added, “Scams are crimes and action needs to be taken to control this hidden scourge of modern society. Everyone has a role; families, friends, carers, the financial sector, enforcers and regulators, to protect those at risk from being targeted and then repeatedly scammed.”

It’s believed to be the first time that such a wide group of professionals have been brought together to share expertise and collaborate on best practice. Groups who are working together to tackle this type of crime include Operation Sterling Scotland Yard, Trading Standards, Action on Elder Abuse, the National Scam Team, Age UK and others.

Speakers include Dr Cassandra Cross, lecturer in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology, who will present the analysis of scams occurring in Canada and Australia. Marilyn Baldwin OBE, founder of the charity Think Jessica, a campaign against organized postal scams, named after her mother Jessica Baldwin who was victim of such a crime, will talk about the psychology of those who are scammed.

Safeguarding Adults at Risk from Scams, Brunel University, will be held on Monday June 16, 2014, from 9.30am to 4pm. Venue: Newton Room, Hamilton Centre, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH

Notes to Editors

To attend the conference, please RSVP to Helen Jacobus at; or the Trading Standards Institute press office, Tel: 0845 608 9430.

The Speakers’ Schedule is attached and the Project Brochure is attached.

Further information is available.

The conference supports the economic and societal impact of Brunel Institute of Ageing ’s research programme; projects were funded by the UK cross council New Dynamics of Ageing Programme and the ESRC follow-on fund RES-189-25-0334. The second follow on grant funded Dr Harries to produce the web-based training tools to train practitioners to detect and prevent financial abuse. The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme or the ESRC. 


This year, the Trading Standards Institute is focusing on doorstep crime as part of its National Consumer Week campaign.  

Doorstep crime impacts residents all over the UK and includes everything from distraction burglary to rogue traders. Doorstep crime can result in thousands of pounds of financial detriment but it also has psychological ramifications for victims and often aids organised crime.

The 'Be a Good Neighbour Stop Rogue Traders' campaign seeks to encourage family, friends, neighbours and carers to intervene in the event that a vulnerable loved one or neighbour is approached by illegitimate doorstep traders. In conjunction with the campaign, which will commence 3 November 2014, TSI will host a national competition the details of which will be announced at our annual conference 30 June through 3 July. 

DATE: 16 June 2014