‘Silver surfers’ are warned over web scams

Growing legions of ‘silver surfers’ in South Ayrshire are being warned to be vigilant as cyber criminals look to prey on unsuspecting victims with increasingly cunning online scams.

With the numbers of older people using the web and discovering social media channels growing daily, fears are being raised they are becoming the prime targets for internet scammers.

The tricksters are continually concocting scams to fool unsuspecting web users with many of the cons taking place without the victim being aware, ranging from social networking and financial scams to those relating to online employment or auctions.

One smartphone/web-based App set up to highlight the explosion of online scams lists more than 600 different online cons.

The latest warning comes from the Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC), as part of a new campaign it is fronting to raise awareness of various issues that can place older people at risk of financial harm. Gary Ritchie, Assistant Director of SBCC, said: “These con men will stop at nothing to deceive and swindle internet users out of personal details and money.

“While many of us have been using the internet for some time and have grown to recognise these types of scam emails, anyone can be caught out as new scams are constantly being designed to trick unwary web surfers into parting with money or personal information. The increase in ‘silver surfers’ using the internet as a way of communicating now means that older people are increasingly exposed to these crimes.

“Older people in particular are prone to falling for emails that appear legitimate because they look like official emails which appear to be from a well-known bank or unsolicited mails where the scammer tells of recent disastrous events which have left them stranded, usually in a foreign country with no money and no passport.

A booklet containing information and advice on a variety of scams has been created and produced by The Metropolitan Police Service’s Operation Sterling Team and is available to download for free by visiting http://www.sbcc.org.uk/media/84031/little_book_of_big_scams.pdf.

Scam Detector is a smart phone and web-based app available to download for free.