A Richmond Police officer is urging caution as the area has recently seen an increase in scams, both online and door to door.
Kyle Abbot, Richmond Police Community Constable, says that the elderly in particular are being targeted, and that the number of people approaching the police who have been scammed is becoming more frequent.
One such scam is the simple act of door knocking.
Kyle says that for the past few weeks scammers have been travelling around Richmond, knocking on doors asking for money, pretending to be collecting for the Blind Foundation.
One middle-aged man has been asking for cash on behalf of the blind foundation.
A spokesperson for The Blind Foundation said that while the foundation has collectors in the Tasman area at present, they are not collecting money; they are only trying to sign people up for a length of time to sponsor a puppy.
These collectors will have a Red Vest/Jacket, an ID Card and an IPA
They are calling at homes from 12:30pm to 7:30pm.
If you have someone who comes to your door requesting money, report them to the Police immediately on 111.
Mal Drummond, Elder Abuse Advisor for Age concern Nelson, says that if someone asks you for money, look for the logo. They should be wearing a vest or jacket with the logo of the charity that they’re representing. They should have a name badge.
“If you’re unsure, or if you’ve never heard of the charity and it seems risky, just close the door.”
The region has also seen an increase in online and phone scams.
The number one thing for people to remember is that no legitimate bank or organisation will ask you to do anything with your money over the phone, or over email.
Kyle says the easiest way to avoid scams like this is to simply go to the bank.
Just go into the bank and talk to a real person, face to face, Kyle says.
“People are losing their savings, thousands of dollars, simply because they’re trusting.”
Often a simple act like that can save people from losing thousands.
One scam that police are aware of currently, is people claiming to be from telecommunications companies such as Spark and requesting bank account details.
The message from police is simple – if anyone asks you to do anything with your money or bank account over the phone, just hang up.
Mal says that elderly people are often the target of these scams, as they are often more trusting by nature and vulnerable through isolation and can offer suffer more greatly than a younger person.
“The difference is that if you’ve living on the pension and you lose your life savings, the chance of being able to recover your savings is very low.”
Caroline Budge, the manager of Age Concern, says that if you get approached by someone asking for money or to do anything with your finances, whether it’s at your door, over the phone, or online, talk to someone else first, a friend or a family member. Elderly people who are unsure can even call Age Concern to ask for advice.
Caroline says that, at the end of the day, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”