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Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus.
Please note that this is not definitive information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Issue 42 April 2012

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Avoiding Scams

Pyramid schemes, prize draws and bogus sales callers - it's difficult to know how to handle these situations, but fortunately a lot of scams and bad purchases can be avoided when we know what to look for.

Most of us can protect ourselves from scams when we have the right information and advice. Download these free information guides for a better understanding of how to stay safe and what to do if you, a relative, or an older person you care for is tricked by dishonest claims.

Avoiding scams (PDF, 495KB) - this practical guide can help you to identify a potential scam by telling you what to look for. Our handy 'scams checklist' is a useful way to work out whether you may have been approached by a dishonest claim. We can also advise you on what to do if you've found yourself victim of a scam.

Your consumer rights (PDF, 980KB) - find out your rights and options when you choose where to buy from, and what your consumer rights are if you need to make a complaint. This guide aims to give you the confidence to shop easily and safely.

Staying safe (PDF, 665KB) - this guide provides practical steps you can take to feel safer, both at home and when you're out. It looks at ways to secure your home and safety on the doorstep and explains what to do if you're a victim of a crime.

Internet security (PDF, 947KB) - using the internet safely means using the common sense we already use in everyday life. This guide shows how to apply these rules online so that you can protect yourself, and your computer.

If you'd prefer, you can order our information guides through the post by calling 0800 169 6565 and any of our guides can be posted to you free of charge.

Scams checklist

Always stop, think and be sceptical before signing anything or handing over any money. If an exciting offer seems too good to be true, think about the following warning signs and ask yourself if it is a scam: "

  • Was the offer unsolicited?
  • Do you have to respond quickly? What's the rush?
  • Do you have to pay for a prize or 'free' gift?
  • Do you have to ring a premium rate number (one starting with '09')?
  • Are you being asked for your bank or credit card details? " Is the business reluctant to give you its address or contact details?
  • Are you being asked to keep the offer confidential?

If the worst happens and you are a victim of a scam, or if you want advice on how to protect yourself, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (national rate) for help.

**NB** AGE UK has recently printed information sheets on how the Budget will affect your pension now and in the future. The information is too lengthy to print in the magazine, but is very clearly defined.

This information, or any other information you may require, can also be acquired by telephoning any of the numbers below Age Scotland Helpline: 0845 125 9732 Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565

My apologies to Age UK and Age Scotland for any misquotes
Mae Stewart