At our October meeting, the speakers from the Coventry Building Society, the second-largest in the country, gave us useful advice about widespread scams: online, via telephone or on the doorstep and how to avoid them and protect yourself from fraud. Many scammers are part of organised crime gangs and deliberately target people who are vulnerable, elderly or living alone to carry out criminal activities which cost their many victims billions of pounds a year. We were shocked to hear how widespread and lucrative these frauds are: every 15 seconds someone falls for a scam and most of our members reported plausible approaches and attempts to defraud them, including prize draw letters in which recipients are told they have won a large cash prize but must pay a fee to release it. Other common scams include letters from people claiming to be clairvoyants threatening bad luck if the recipient does not pay up, or phone calls from criminals claiming to be Microsoft employees offering to fix your laptop in order to get hold of your financial details.
We were given leaflets on avoiding fraud and advised never to let unrecognised callers into our homes and to use a chain to keep the door fastened. Any calls purporting to come from banks or building societies are generally fraudulent and to check if they are genuine, we were urged to ring our bank back, preferably on another phone, rather than accepting the initial call at face value. “If something sounds too good to be true,” our speakers emphasised, “it generally is.”
Brenda Sheard won the competition for ‘a Truly Useful Kitchen Gadget’ with her pair of ‘Super Scissors’ which can cut through anything, including chicken legs. Jane Mills was second with her nifty plastic cover which fits by suction over a plate of food so securely, it keeps the food airtight and you can lift the whole dish up. Joy Hancock was third with her set of nutcrackers which are also invaluable for loosening the tight tops of bottles and jars.
Several members have begun visiting our past President Jean Tracey who is 100 and currently in St Joseph’s Care Home in Coleshill, where she welcomes any visitors and is as mentally sharp and lively as ever. One of our longest standing members, she sent her best wishes to all her Coleshill WI friends.
At our next meeting on November 12th, our Annual Meeting, we are hoping for a good turn-out to elect the new committee – and that some of our members will volunteer to take on these committee jobs. We are now holding our meetings in the afternoons rather than the evenings, at 2.00pm to encourage as many members as possible to attend regularly and save them having to come out on cold, dark winter nights. We will be planting bowls of bulbs for spring flowering and members are asked to bring their own bowl. We are already racking their brains for November’s contest for ‘A memory from Coleshill WI.’ Creativity will again be required in December when the competition is for a new verse for a Christmas carol. The winning entry will be sung during the annual Christmas Party with festive food, music and games.
The other regular WI activities will continue at the usual times, including the members’ monthly lunches at different pubs in the area, Scrabble sessions each month at Brenda Sheard’s home and darts and other traditional games every Monday afternoon at Gill Tyers’s house.
Do come along to any of our regular monthly meetings and sample the WI. Visitors are always welcome and there are so many different social events and activities to try, and skills to learn as well as the camaraderie and interest of being part of a vibrant local group.
For more details contact our President Elaine Partridge on 01675-462621 or Secretary Jane Hewitt 01675-430157