INDEPENDENT charity the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust has launched a free and potent new scheme to help older people and those with disabilities stay safe online.

The Stay Safe Online service is unique in offering advice and assistance across Swindon and Wiltshire for those aged over 60 or aged 18-plus with a registered disability.

The growing demands of the digital age come with pitfalls. Computer fraud is the fastest growing crime targeting the over-60s. This type of crime has the capacity to touch the daily lives of all of us and doesn’t discriminate against age.

The sting in the tail is that this is probably only the tip of the iceberg as cybercrime is so vastly under-reported.

Malware, ransomware and phishing have become the criminals’ new lexicon – computers and the internet the new tools of their trade. But despite the scale of the problem, it is estimated that more than 80 per cent of all fraud offences go unreported to the police, meaning many of those responsible can operate without fear of ever being caught.

We know that cybercrime and fraud can have a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally, on victims’ lives. The good news is that we can do something about this by raising awareness about online safety and improving ways of helping to prevent this type of crime.

The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust is an independent charity which, for the past 20 years, has worked with Wiltshire Police to provide its invaluable home security service.

But, in addition to its work helping to make people’s homes safe and secure, the trust recognises that in this ever-changing modern world we also need to look at the security of our devices and systems to increase awareness about cyber security. Only by enhancing the risk of the criminals getting caught can we diminish the attractiveness of this type of crime.

The trust fully understands that raising awareness about computer fraud and what to do if you have concerns over your online safety will help prevent and reduce the risk of this type of crime. Unfortunately, in this day and age we can no longer live in a world that is built on trust alone. It’s time to acknowledge that those days have long gone.

Trust director, Jennie Shaw, said: “Technology plays a crucial role for everyone in later life to help combat loneliness and diminish the risk of isolation.

"But we must help people to adopt the new technology wisely and in a greater understanding of its risks as well as its huge benefits. Many fearful of becoming victims of cybercrime often feel too embarrassed to come forward to get help.

"Worse still, those who fall prey to criminals often blame themselves and are reluctant to admit to what they see as their foolishness. This shouldn’t be the case and therefore We want to encourage those eligible within the community to contact the Wiltshire Bobby Van Stay Safe Online team.

“One of the team within your area will visit your home to give you advice on how to improve your digital/cyber security awareness and offer cyber/scam prevention information & also offer practical skills along with support and reassurance.”

To make an appointment for free advice email: or call 01380 861191.

Or visit our Website:

By Toni Evans