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.”
Jane Howard, Head of Personal Banking for NatWest, said:
"Educating and raising customer awareness of scams and how they work to dupe you to pay away funds is key to preventing more people from becoming victims. Scams have a massive impact on their victims - both financially and also on their health and wellbeing. NatWest is looking forward to working with the National Trading Standards Scams Team to help us all to be more informed and create scam free communities."
For more information about the Friends Against Scams campaign please visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.
For more information about the National Trading Standards Scams Team please contact the press office: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7025 7570
Notes to Editors
National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- More information is available at: www.nationaltradingstandards.uk
National Trading Scams Team
- The National Trading Standards Scams Team works in partnership with other agencies across the country to identify and support victims of mass marketing fraud.
About Friends Against Scams
Friends Against Scams aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to "Take a stand against scams". Anyone can join the Friends Against Scams campaign by attending a Friends Against Scams awareness session or completing the online learning. With increased knowledge and awareness, people can make scams part of everyday conversation with their family, friends and neighbours which will enable them to protect themselves and others. Other Friends Against Scams partners include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. For more information visit: http://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/