One million people empowered to tackle scams

A call to action for individuals, communities, businesses, neighbours and work colleagues to help ‘take a stand against scams’ is being announced by the Government this morning during Take Five to Stop Fraud week. At an event in Westminster it will be confirmed that the Friends Against Scams campaign – run by National Trading Standards to help people spot and report scams – is planning to train up to a million people to be Friends Against Scams by 2020.

The expansion of the Friends Against Scams campaign is being announced as part of Take Five to Stop Fraud Week. Take Five to Stop Fraud Week is a national campaign run by Financial Fraud Action UK and the UK Government that provides practical advice on how you can stay safe from fraudsters. NatWest is a founding partner of the programme and more banks and companies are being encouraged to help the campaign.

Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK and postal, telephone and doorstep scams are often targeted at disadvantaged consumers or those in vulnerable situations. The National Trading Standards Scams Team estimates that the cost to consumers as a result of these scams is between £5 and £10 billion a year.

Since its launch last year the Friends Against Scams campaign has already provided training to more than 30,000 people, helping them understand how to spot a scam and empowering them to help prevent relatives, neighbours and friends from becoming victims.

Security and Economic Crime Minister, Ben Wallace, said:

“Fraud is now the most prevalent crime in the UK, so I am delighted to launch the One Million Friends Against Scams Initiative during Take Five Week.

“We know that the more we talk to each other about scams, the less likely we are to fall victim to them so these campaigns are vital.”

Louise Baxter from the National Trading Standards Scams Team said:

“As the National Trading Standards Scams Team sees on a daily basis, criminal scams do huge damage to our society. The people who are targeted are often in the most vulnerable circumstances and the impact is huge – from significant financial losses to emotional damage with victims feeling frightened and hopeless.

“The aim of the Friends Against Scams campaign is simple – to reduce the number of people falling victims to criminal scams. Since its launch last year the campaign has already made an impact, with tens of thousands of people already signing up. I’d encourage anyone interested in the campaign to sign up at”

“The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to train one million people to be Friends Against Scams, helping ensuring communities across the country are empowered to take a stand against scams.

Dave Lowe from NatWest said:

“We are proud to be a founding partner of the Friends Against Scams Programme and the official bank partner of the one million friends launch. Having trained 22,000 colleagues across the bank we are already seeing a real impact which has helped customers avoid becoming victims. However more still needs to be done to prevent people becoming the victims of scams and we are proud to support this ambitious target.”

People can support the Friends Against Scams campaign by:

  • Completing a short awareness training session in person or online. People can find out more about the training here.
  • Becoming a SCAMchampion by hosting awareness sessions to recruit Friends and driving Friends Against Scams forward in their communities or workplace. More information about how to become a SCAMchampion can be found here.
  • Signing their company or organisation up to Friends Against Scams. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently become the first government department to commit to training all of their staff to become Friends Against Scams. More information about how to do this can be found here.
  • Public figures can become a SCAMbassador by using their influence to raise the profile of scams at a national level. More information about this can be found here.

For more information about the Friends Against Scams campaign please visit

Notes to Editors

For more information about this case or for general enquiries about National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail

Notes to editors

About 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.
  • National Trading Standards teams are based within local authority trading standards services
  • For more information please visit

About Take Five

  • Take Five is a national campaign that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud– particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations. Take Five is backed by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) part of UK Finance, HMG via the Home Office and a range of partners including banks, building societies, law enforcement agencies, commercial, public and Third Sector organisations. By working together banks, the financial industry, Government and consumers can help to stop fraud.