I was moved by David Cornock's blog posts yesterday about the ordeal his poor Mother went through in the hands of a gang who bullied her out of her life savings. I thought the family were brave to speak out and raise awareness about this issue. I'm sure it was extremely difficult for them, and it makes me angry to think what she must have gone through. As David warned on the news yesterday - it can happen to anyone.
Unfortunately, there are far too many scumbags out there who are willing to take advantage of the most vulnerable within our society. Every time I visit my grandmother, she shows me a copy of some letter or another that has come through trying to con her out of some money or tells me about someone's who called or even visited offering services at a ridiculous price. These people target the elderly specifically, and will try anything to trick them or bully them out of money. It's completely unacceptable and I think more needs to be done to raise awareness of such scams and punish those who are caught doing so. We also need to make the elderly more aware of how to complain if they do feel threatened - simply pointing them in a direction of a website is not effective as the vast majority are not online. And often when they do get through to someone on a phone line to complain, they're not really listened to unless it's extremely serious and usually they're asked to write in about their experiences. Nothing seems to get done.
The elderly are far too often ignored by our society and as such, are isolated. No matter how good you may be as a family member at keeping in touch and visiting, often its not possible to be with them 24/7 and good conmen have a knack on knowing when best to get them by themselves.
We need to give them a voice, and as this tragic story highlights, make it easier for them to seek support. No one should be bullied and threatened in this manner, and no one should have to suffer in silence.
My Chronicle Column - Terrorism in Westminster
8 hours ago