Staffordshire Police have launched a campaign to prevent over-60s in the area from falling prey to online scams.
The campaign aims to help those later in life from knowing how to spot a scam, before they fall victim to it, after data from Action Fraud revealed people between the ages of 60 and 79 were most likely to be tricked through methods like phishing or romance fraud.
Phishing is a popular scamming method where the fraudster attempts to get secure or sensitive information from somebody by pretending to be from a trustworthy source, such as police or a service provider.
Romance fraud refers to people using an online dating website or application, speaking and developing a relationship, while using a fake profile for fraudulent monetary gains.
Throughout the next few weeks, Staffordshire Police will be running a Facebook campaign aimed at those aged older than 60 to explain how to identify threats and what to do if people think they may have fallen victim.
Superintendent Amanda Davies, the director of intelligence at Staffordshire Police said: "People of any age should be able to enjoy the internet and all that it offers without being targeted by criminals. Unfortunately this is just not the case and so we want to educate those most likely to become victims on how they can avoid it.
"I hear too often of victims being misled and losing money after placing their trust in someone they have met online. It is wrong to prey on the vulnerable, so we work closely with neighbouring police forces and partners like Action Fraud to stop those trying to defraud innocent members of the public.
"Simultaneously we focus heavily on distributing crime prevention advice to prevent people falling prey to this in future. I hear too often of victims being misled and losing money after placing their trust in someone they have met online.
"It is wrong to prey on the vulnerable, so we work closely with neighbouring police forces and partners like Action Fraud to stop those trying to defraud innocent members of the public.
"Simultaneously we focus heavily on distributing crime prevention advice to prevent people falling prey to this in future. If you are not sure about something you receive or it doesn't look legitimate, or if you are talking to a stranger online and they start asking too many probing questions, trust your instinct and report it.
"Either contact the owning website directly or contact Action Fraud if you think someone is trying to defraud you."
Top five ways to spot a cyber-scam
Staffordshire Police have listed five tell-tale signs that people may be being targeted by a cyber-scam and how to avoid them.
1 – A message from a retailer
Scammers often send out emails pretending to be from well-known and trusted retailers.
Key things to look out for is whether the email address it is sent from is recognisable or not, if the email address does not relate to the business the message is from, it is probably a fraud.
Most email services will reveal if a message is considered spam when you open it, these warnings should be adhered to. If the offer has come from a brand people have never shopped with, it is likely to be a scam because businesses target repeat customers.
2 – A text message from an unrecognised number
Away from fraudulent email messages, scammers are now targeting mobile phone users by sending out messages straight to people's phones.
If you receive a text message from an unknown number, with a link, never click it as it could potentially release malware which will infect your device and access your personal information.
3 – Seems too good to be true
Typically the most common phase when it comes to protecting against fraud is if it seems too good to be true, it normally is – and this remains true to this day.
Random messages saying that you have won a substantial amount of money or a round-the-world trip will most of the time be a complete scam.
4 – Spelling mistakes
Sophisticated spam filters are in place on most email systems nowadays that can detect fraud messages and deal with them appropriately, so fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to get around them and get their fake messages out to people.
One of these methods is to change letters for numbers in words, such as swapping the 'I' in winner to a '1': 'w1nner!'
The swap is close enough that many will not spot it, and if a system is set up to block emails containing the word winner, which appears in many, than this could still get through.
5 – Warning from your email provider
The sophisticated spam filter on email providers will divert most scam emails away from the inbox, but they will inevitably still slip through from time to time. But if you receive a message from the provider themselves warning against a certain address or message, adhere to it.