We are all starting to feel the bite of the cost-of-living crisis and some of us are worried about how we will cope – from the rise in energy prices and the cost of the weekly shop, to how our pensions or investments may be affected.

We are all looking for ways to make our money go further. But this can make any of us vulnerable to becoming a victim of fraud.

Unfortunately, where we see a crisis, just like the Covid pandemic, criminals see an opportunity.  An opportunity to steal our money or personal information.

Many people have already lost money to fraudulent phone calls, text messages, emails and doorstep callers about the energy rebate scheme, cost of living payments and energy saving home improvements.

In these times, we may also be looking to borrow money to make ends meet. This means we could end up owing money to illegal money lenders, also known as loan sharks.

But help is at hand. The Age UK Cheshire East Scams Awareness and Aftercare Project, run in partnership with Cheshire East Council’s trading standards team, is offering people in the borough aged over 50 a free, personalised scams advice session.

Sally Wilson, project manager said, “Every 40 seconds an older person becomes a victim of fraud. We believe the best way to protect yourself is to have a personalised scams advice session. That way, we can update you on current frauds and talk about what’s important to you.”

The visits can take place in the comfort of your own home, at the Age UK Cheshire East office in Macclesfield or in a public venue, such as a library or community centre.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said, “Last year in Cheshire, 5,281 people reported being scammed, costing them over £20m in total. I would encourage those with concerns about scams, to contact Sally and arrange an advice session.”

To book a free scams advice visit contact Age UK Cheshire East’s Scams Awareness and Aftercare Team on 01625 612958 or at enquiries@ageukce.org.

Through the Older Persons Scams Awareness and Aftercare Project, Age UK Cheshire East want to do as much as we can to support older people, either directly or indirectly.

Further information about the project can be found at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/cheshireeast/our-services/scams-awareness/