YOUR MP WRITES: Torfaen MP Paul Murphy
8:02am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
I WAS encouraged to read that the Argus are supporting Age Cymru's campaign against "scams and swindles". More than 2,500 scams were reported to trading standards in Wales between February 2012 and February 2013.
That's just the tip of the iceberg though, as the Office of Fair Trading estimates that only five per cent of scams are ever reported.
These scams often target older and more vulnerable people, on the doorstep, over the phone, or on the internet. They can have a devastating impact, robbing people of their money and self-confidence. I've heard the story of a 76-year-old widow conned out of her life savings. A man in Gwent was persuaded to send money abroad to claim non-existent lottery prizes. Age Cymru were contacted by someone whose grandmother was convinced to send money to a clairvoyant in Switzerland.
These stories are depressingly common, but what is needed is to get government, councils, charities, the police and the communications companies to work together to target these fraudsters and cut off their ability to con people. Cold-calling zones set up by councils have had some impact, but more needs to be done.
Royal Mail can do more to cut off scam letters delivered from abroad before they reach people, if the UK Government alters the legislation that often prevents them from intervening. Delivery staff could be empowered to do more to help when they see that an older or vulnerable person is receiving a lot of potential scam mail. But this isn't just a mail issue - internet service providers and telephone companies also need to do more to protect their customers.
After speaking to former Argus editor Gerry Keighley, I have applied for an adjournment debate in parliament on this issue. If I'm successful, I hope to use that opportunity to highlight the campaign and give ministers and MPs the opportunity to debate what should be done to stop more innocent people falling victim to these awful scams.
GOOD luck to those campaigning to save the retained fire engine in Cwmbran. If the engine goes, 17 firefighters will be lost and a town the size of Cwmbran will be left with only one fire engine. Lynne Neagle, local councillors and I are all concerned about this and will do our best to support the campaign.
FINALLY, well done to the excellent students whose achievements I helped celebrate at Llantarnam School last Thursday evening. I know the past year hasn't been the easiest for the school, but the young people I met were inspirational, and the head teacher and his staff seem truly dedicated to going the extra yard for their pupils to turn things round.
Comments are closed on this article.