Help protect loved ones from scams and fraud

Posted on: January 8th, 2019

Hannah Rowlatt explains how you can protect your loved ones from fake HMRC scammers and what options are available if your loved one can no longer protect themselves. 

The BBC recently published an article ‘Elderly ‘under siege’ from fake HMRC and police scammers’. Age Cymru estimates up to 150,000 older people across Wales are conned each year, for an average of £1,200 each. The article features a woman aged 84 who was bombarded with calls from companies after ordering Christmas gifts through a catalogue.

The advice to protect your loved ones is to look out for and be aware; if they receive a lot of post, if their phone is often ringing, or if they are secretive about their finances, you can report your suspicions to Action Fraud, or ring police on 101. If you are suspicious at all of contact, the advice is to forward the email, text or details of the suspicious call you’ve received claiming to be from HMRC to us at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

To read the BBC’s article please click here.

We can often assist our loved ones by passing on the above information and also by having open discussions with them to make them aware of creative and convincing fraudsters. Unfortunately, there may come a time when our loved ones are not able to act themselves against these so called scammers. The loved one may no longer have mental capacity or may begin to struggle to manage their finances and they may call on you for trusted help and guidance.

What options are available?

  1. Check to see if they have an Enduring Power of Attorney. This document would have been dated before 1st October 2007 and will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used by the named attorney(s) for property and affairs matters only. Coffin Mew can be instructed to advise on and if appropriate, apply to register the document,
  2.  Check to see if they have a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing attorney(s) to manage their property and affairs. If they do, this document can either be used as soon as it is registered OR once the person lacks capacity to make the relevant decision. This is dependent on how the document is drafted,
  3. The individual does not have the above documents but retains the necessary mental capacity to appoint attorney(s) under a Lasting Power of Attorney and wishes to appoint attorney(s) to assist them. Coffin Mew can assist in drafting and registering this document,
  4. The individual does not have the above documents but lacks the necessary mental capacity to manage their property and affairs. In these circumstances, providing the individual has sufficient funds and it is in their best interests to do so, an application can be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy or deputies to make property and affairs decisions on behalf of the individual. Again, Coffin Mew can advise you on this process.

If you are concerned about a vulnerable family member or friend and their mental capacity to manage their property and affairs, you can contact Hannah Rowlatt, Solicitor from the Court of Protection team to discuss the options available to help and assist your loved one.

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