Cost of Living / Fuel Poverty and Safeguarding

Today’s theme is the cost of living, fuel poverty and safeguarding.  There are many ways that the rising cost of living can affect people’s health and wellbeing. Amongst many things, being unable to buy food for yourself or all your family, unable to heat your home, generate hot water or pay your bills increases the risk of abuse and neglect happening as well as health issues (including mental health). We are using today as an opportunity to share local links and pathways to support.

Local Guidance

Local guidance and information on Cost of Living issues can be found on the Southampton City Council Website.

Need Help?

The Southampton Safeguarding Adults Board have identified local services that may be able to support those needing financial support, food, clothing and housing. This list shares some of the services that may be available:

Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue Service Information

The following resources have been created by Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue service as part of their ‘5Cs cost of living campaign’

Support for Housing Costs

District and borough councils will be supporting vulnerable households with exceptional housing costs, where existing housing support schemes do not meet need and for cases of genuine emergency. A provision for support of housing costs, in exceptional cases of genuine emergency where existing housing support schemes do not meet the need, and in cases of genuine emergency. District and borough councils will determine funding based on individual needs.

Government Cost of Living Support

Find out what support is available to help with the cost of living. This includes income and disability benefits, bills and allowances, childcare, housing and travel.

 Cost of Living Support

National Energy Action

From October, with the government’s price freeze in effect, National Energy Action predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty. It means they cannot afford to live in a warm, dry and safe home. National Energy Action is the national charity working to end fuel poverty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 National Energy Action (NEA) – the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity

Age UK – Keeping well this winter

Changes to our bodies as we get older mean that cold weather and winter bugs affect us more than they used to. This webpage from Age UK provides tips on staying healthy through winter.

Fraud and SCAMs

You might be contacted with misleading or fraudulent offers designed to con you out of your money.  These are received by post, email, social media messages, telephone, text or face-to-face.  Advice is available about how to spot scams and frauds, to prevent yourself or someone you know becoming the victim of a scam or fraud and losing your money.

Action Fraud – Reporting Fraud and Cybercrime 

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.  You can report this directly to Action Fraud either online or by telephone.  Information and support is available on the Action Fraud website.

Action Fraud Amazon Prime scam 

Action Fraud has warned that people are being targeted with automated calls which tell them that a fraudster has used their personal details to sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription.  The victim is then instructed to press “1” to cancel the transaction.  When they do this, they are directly connected to the real scammer who poses as an Amazon customer service representative.  The criminal tells the victim that the Amazon Prime subscription was purchased fraudulently and that they need remote access to the victim’s computer in order to fix a security flaw which will prevent it from happening again.  The victim is instructed to download an application called Team Viewer and asked to log onto their online banking account.  The software download grants the fraudster remote access to the victim’s computer and allows them to see the victim’s personal and financial details.  Other variants of the crime involve victims being told they are due a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.  Action Fraud is reminding people to never install any software as a result of a cold call.

Romance Fraud

Romance fraud occurs when you think you’ve met the perfect partner online but they’re using a fake profile to form a relationship with you.  You might meet them via an online dating website or app, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram or gaming sites.  They gain your trust over a number of weeks or months and have you believe you’re in a loving and caring relationship.  However, the criminal’s goal is only ever to get your money or personal information.

Between August 2019 and August 2020, 222 reports of romance fraud were made to Action Fraud by residents of Hampshire.  The total reported loss in the same time period was £2million, equating to an average loss per victim of just over £9,000.

If you think you’ve been a victim of romance fraud or a romance-based scam, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via Action Fraud.

Hampshire Constabulary – Stay Safe from Fraud Guides

Hampshire Constabulary receives over 700 reports of fraud or attempted fraud each month.  Many of these target elderly or vulnerable members of the community and the consequences can be extremely damaging, both financially and emotionally, for the victims.  A number of useful guides, in particular for those vulnerable members of our communities, can be accessed on the Hampshire Constabulary website.

Personal fraud and how to prevent it | Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

The Little Leaflet of Cyber Advice (hampshire.police.uk)

Ann Craft Trust – 3 Ways to Stay Safe Online
  • Protect your passwords.  Set a strong password and never share it with anyone.  Use a combination of special characters, capital letters and numbers and aim to change your passwords every 90 days.
  • Don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do in real life.  Be nice to people.  Don’t get into arguments with strangers.  Don’t share anything too private or personal.
  • Be scam-aware.  Never click links in dodgy emails.  Understand that your bank or building society will never contact you by email asking for personal details or money transfers.  And remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Download the Ann Craft Trust’s digital safeguarding resource pack here.

Explore the Ann Craft Trust’s introduction to digital safeguarding guide which explains what digital safeguarding is and provides tips and advice for staying safe online.

Do you know how to support young people who have been abused online?  The Ann Craft Trust’s website has plenty of information about the support you can give.

Safeguarding, Young People and Virtual Delivery: Creating Safer Online Spaces.  Find out more about safer online spaces on the Ann Craft Trust’s website.

How to Stay Safe Online – Guidance for Adults and Young People with Learning Disabilities.  Read more about this on the Ann Craft Trust’s website.

Do you know how to spot the signs of digital scams?  Learn more about these on the Ann Craft Trust’s website.

Listen to ACT’s latest podcastSafeguarding in Esports with Fnatic.

What is cyber bullying?  Discover more on the Ann Craft Trust’s website.

Friends Against Scams – Latest Scams

“Friends Against Scams” is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering them to take a stand against scams.  “Friends Against Scams” is designed to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem, change the perceptions of why people fall for scams and make scams a community, regional and national topic.  It has a page dedicated to updating you on the latest scams.  Visit the Friends Against Scams website where you can sign up to scam alerts.

Protection_from_scams_guide.pdf (friendsagainstscams.org.uk)Scams and fraud | Money Matters | Age UK

Take Five Campaign to Stop Fraud

“Take Five” is a national campaign led by UK Finance and backed by Her Majesty’s Government.  The campaign is being delivered with and through a range of partners in public and third sector organisations.  It offers straightforward, impartial advice which helps prevent email, phone-based and online fraud, particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.  Visit the Take Five Campaign website for information and advice on fraud and how to prevent it.

Number Spoofing Scams – OfCom advice

Many phone handsets now let you see the number of the person calling before you answer.  This feature – known as “Caller ID” or “Calling Line Identity” (CLI) – is a handy way of screening the calls you want to answer from the ones you don’t.  However, there have been growing instances of nuisance callers and criminals deliberately changing the Caller ID, a practice known as “spoofing”.  They do this to either hide their identity or to try to mimic the number of a real company or person who has nothing to do with the real caller.  For example, identity thieves who want to steal sensitive information such as your bank account or login details sometimes use spoofing to pretend they’re calling from your bank or credit card company.   See more information and advice on how to protect yourself on the OfCom website.

Little Book of Big Scams

This guide provides advice for you, the public, to fight against the increasing number of scammers targeting you, your valuable information and your money. The Little Book of Big Scams – 5th Edition (met.police.uk)

If you are worried about an adult, please telephone Southampton Adult Social Care: 023 8083 3003 or call the Police: 101 or in an emergency dial 999