NEW CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE CRIMINAL SCAMS LAUNCHED

Advice, News
  • Scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of consumer detriment every year
  • Campaign to help people identify, change perceptions and prevent people falling victim to scams

A new campaign has launched today to raise awareness of scams and encourage people to take a stand against them. Scams often target people in vulnerable situations – the Friends Against Scams campaign aims to protect and prevent these people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.

Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.

The Friends Against Scams campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, is open to anyone who wants to protect themselves, their neighbours or their loved ones against scams. Free training and awareness sessions – available online and in person at local awareness sessions – are being rolled out, which will provide people with the confidence and skills they need to identify and prevent scams. Those who participate in the training will become a Friend Against Scams and will be encouraged to put their knowledge to use in their local communities.

The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to:

  • Highlight the scale of the issue by encouraging communities and the nation to talk about scams
  • Change the perceptions of why people become scam victims
  • Prevent people from becoming or continuing to be a scam victim by providing better support
  • Recruit individuals and communities to join the fight against scams to make this a scam-free nation

In addition to empowering members of the public the campaign will also partner with a range of organisations who will help promote awareness of scams and take steps to help tackle scams. Founding partners of the campaign include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Louise Baxter, Team Manager at the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:

“Scams do huge damage to our society and we have launched this campaign to protect our communities, particularly people in vulnerable situations who are deliberately targeted by criminals. Scams defraud people and – in addition to the financial damage – many victims are left feeling socially isolated, often too uncomfortable to tell their friends and family what has happened.

“It is time that we took a stand against scams. Friends Against Scams aims to tackle the lack of scams awareness by providing information to enable communities and organisations to understand scams, talk about scams and convey messages throughout communities about scam prevention and protection. I’d encourage anyone interested in stopping scams to visit the Friends Against Scams website – http://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ – and sign-up.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: 

“I strongly believe this campaign can play an important role in helping stop scams. Criminals often prey on victims who find themselves in vulnerable situations and we can all play a part to protect ourselves, family members, friends and neighbours from falling victim to scams, which is why I welcome this campaign and encourage people to get involved.

“Anyone who is worried they may be being scammed or who is concerned about someone who they fear may be a victim should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”

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