News

Len Goodman waltzes through Santander’s new Scam Avoidance School

6 min read

14 March 2018

Strictly Come Dancing’s former head judge, Len Goodman, has added to his skills as a ballroom dancer and TV presenter by enlisting in the SAS, or Scam Avoidance School, to help people aged 60 and over avoid being taken in by scammers.

The 73 year-old was one of the first to graduate from Santander’s new UK-wide initiative, which aims to teach older citizens about the dangers of phishing, vishing and smishing scams, as well as cash point cons.

Between 19 and 23 March, Santander will be offering a free class to over 60s in all its 806 UK branches.

The bank developed the idea for SAS after identifying older people as one of Britain’s most at-risk groups for falling victim to scams. Recent research from Age UK1 revealed that more than five million over 65s have been targeted by scammers in the UK.

Meanwhile, Santander’s analysis found that 82 per cent of older people wanted more to be done to help their generation learn how to protect their money and identities from scammers.

Goodman, who revealed he’d experienced scamming first-hand when his daughter-in-law had recently lost £16,000, said that he wanted to do all he could to help older people become clued up on the techniques scammers use.

“The Scam Avoidance School was a real eye-opener for me: I learned a lot about how to avoid scams and I want to pass on this knowledge to as many people as I can,” the Strictly star said.

“People of my age – we’ve got to have our wits about us, be more aware and more alert to scams so we can quickstep our way around the dangers and keep our bank accounts safe.”

Santander’s research of people over 60 years-old showed that two thirds were worried about the threat posed by fraud and scams, with one in five believing they’d been approached by scammers more than ten times in the last year.

The bank found that older victims were, on average, likely to lose more than double that of younger people to scams. The average amount lost by over-60s to a scam was £401.

Commenting on the launch of SAS, head of fraud strategy at Santander UK, Chris Ainsley, said that he hoped that a bit of scam-avoidance knowledge would empower older to people to secure their savings and prevent scammers from operating.

He added: “Being scammed not only affects your finances but can also leave deep emotional scars. We recognise that more needs to be done to help vulnerable age groups avoid becoming victims of fraudsters and scammers.

“We’re delivering scam avoidance training across all our branches – potentially helping thousands of older people avoid being scammed. In turn, we hope they will pass on what they have learned to many thousands of others, whatever their age.”

After sailing through the SAS, Goodman stepped back in front of the camera to pass on some of what he learned. His series of Len’s Learns videos contain practical advice on what to do when faced with various types of scam, from email-based cons to cash point fraud.

Goodman went on to say: “It seems like scammers are everywhere today, using all kinds of sneaky tricks to scam us over 60s – whether it’s with emails, cold calls or even at the cash machine. But enough is enough.”

Len’s Learns for avoiding cha-cha-chancers

On email scams (phishing)

(1)  If you’ve had an email asking for your PIN, password or to move your money around? That’s got scam written all over it. A real bank or company wouldn’t ask you to do that. Steer well clear.

(2) Never, ever, ever give out personal or financial details unless it’s to use a service you’re sure is real and that you’ve signed up to personally!

(3) Never click on a link or download anything in a dodgy email. It might let scammers infect your computer or take it over!

On telephone scams (vishing)

(1) No one official will ever ask you to draw out money for them – if they do, tell the bank about it right away.

(2)  If they make things seem urgent, try to rush you, and don’t let you chat to other family members, don’t trust ‘em!

(3) Trust your noggin – if they’re trying to get your personal details, talking you in to giving them remote access to their computer, asking you to make payments or if something just smells vishy, put the phone down, and report the call.

 On cash point fraud

(1) If the card slot looks too big, it could be a card skimmer.

(2) Keyboard mushy or clickety? A red flag for a fake keypad.

(3) Finally – always cover your PIN when you type it in!