Europe

BBC scrapping over-75s TV licences sparks concerns over pension scams

BBC licence fee 'no longer fit for purpose' says expert

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Last year, the corporation faced backlash after it scrapped free licences for most over-75s. More than three million households are now forced to pay £157.50 for a colour licence and £57 for a black and white licence.

The decision by the BBC has been heavily condemned by pensioners, politicians and UK charities, who fear many over-75s will struggle to pay the charge.

Now, Dennis Reed, from Silver Voices, has said since the licences were scrapped, pensioners are facing more potential scams.

He told Express.co.uk: “Any opportunity that scammers have to take advantage of older vulnerable people they will do so and older people are the ones who suffer most from scams.

“Since the free licences were scrapped, we are getting emails all the time asking if this is letter from TV Licensing genuine or not.

“This issue needs to be taken much more seriously.”

Mr Reed continued to say how the British Government and Intelligence Services are not working hard enough to “track these perpetrators”.

He said: “I am not sure what our intelligence services are doing to track these perpetrators.

“It is a very serious crime.

“If you trick an old lady out of their life savings, that is a really serious crime.

“I don’t think the priority is being given to track these people down.

“If there were some decent sentences handed out, these crime rings shut down they would stop.

“But they think they can just get away with it.”

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Mr Reed argued how pension scams have been “going on for years” but there have not been any international groups of scammers “being broken up”.

He added: “It has been going on for years, they just let it happen.

“It is too difficult. have you ever seen a report of a ring of these fraudsters being broken up? I haven’t.

“I have seen foreign rings of child pornography operators being broken up and international drug rings being broken up but not seen international groups of scammers being broke up.

“It must be just as easy to track these people down as these people.

“These people are not operating on the black web they are operating in full view and can be traced.

“It is really easy for them. They do it in volume.

“They will eventually get someone who falls for their stories and no one does anything about it.

“If you’re lucky you might be able to get some money from your bank if you have been scammed, but for pension pots, it is much more difficult.

“I would like to see much more priority on this.”

A TV Licensing Spokesperson said: “We take the protection of our customers extremely seriously. If anyone is suspicious or doubtful about whether correspondence is genuine they can call us or check online.

“We have written to all our over 75 customers through the post and provided specific information on how to identify scams or fraudulent mail.”

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