North Tyneside Council is issuing a warning to residents to stay alert after a vulnerable older woman fell victim of a money-grabbing scam.
Debra, whose real identity is being withheld, was contacted by a fraudulent competition company on social media claiming that she had won £20k, but in order to claim her prize, she had to send the company £600 worth of vouchers, because it was “easier for them”.
Her situation was brought to the attention of North Tyneside Council’s Adult Social Care team after a non-uniformed police officer saw her in the shop and queried the purchasing of the vouchers.
After working alongside one of the council’s social workers, Debra was warned of the risks that these kinds of social media scams can pose, and was supported to take more control of her finances – setting up online banking and questioning those who contact her.
Now, as part of SAFE Week, which this year takes place between September 23 and September 27, North Tyneside Council is working alongside Northumberland County Council to raise awareness of potential safeguarding issues in both children and adults.
Cllr Gary Bell, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “Events like SAFE week are a great opportunity for us to highlight safeguarding in both adults and children.
“Scams like these can be incredibly deceiving, so it’s important that residents stay vigilant and never give your personal details out to someone who you don’t know and trust.
“Everyone deserves to live their life free from harm and abuse but sadly that isn’t always the case and I hope that we can give these people the courage to speak up.
“We have such a wide array of support here in North Tyneside for anyone to take advantage of, so if you do need any kind of assistance, there is something available to you.”
As the lead organisation in safeguarding adults and young people at risk of harm, North Tyneside Council organises SAFE week in conjunction with multi-agency partners from health, police, Northumberland County Council, as well as a range of voluntary and private providers.
Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult well-being and health at Northumberland County Council said: “Through SAFE Week we want to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding vulnerable adults and children in our community.
“This year we are holding a number of events and circulating information across a range of services including community, housing, care, leisure and library services. We want to give people the information they need to protect themselves and their families from guard against harm from activities such as scams.”
To mark SAFE Week, a number of events will be held across North Tyneside and Northumberland, including a community safety conference exclusively for young people aged 13-15 who live or go to school in North Tyneside or Northumberland.
The event, taking place at the Langdale Centre on Friday 27 September between 9.30am and 3pm, will raise awareness of the safety issues affecting young people, with workshops focussing on online safety, knife crime and healthy relationships.