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Fraud and Risk Focus Blog

Expert blog series: National Trading Standards Scams Team

18 July 2016

Fighting scams and trying to help the people who are affected by scams is a personal battle of mine. The support for this issue has grown so much in the last three years, it feels like an avalanche – albeit a welcome one. To succeed in our mission, we need to ensure we are all heading in the same direction; not duplicating effort; and sharing our resources. And, most importantly for me, it’s about the ‘three Ps’.

People 

When we talk about scams, we talk a lot about statistics and ‘vulnerable people’ as a homogenous group.  We should always remember that we are talking about someone’s mum, brother, aunt or daughter, and that these people are often in a situation that makes them vulnerable rather than being vulnerable in themselves. Labelling people as vulnerable is disempowering whilst we want to empower people to make safe and wise decisions.  To do this we need to be:

Proactive 

We react to scams and people after they have been scammed. But why do we wait for people to go to the bank to draw out £5,000 for a fake foreign lottery? By acting sooner, could we have prevented the situation from arising in the first place? We should be doing more to educate people on how to spot and avoid a scam and identify and support potential victims before the scam occurs..

Partnership

Lastly, we can’t act in isolation. If we want to make a real difference to this issue and help those at risk of being targeted, we need to work in partnership. We need to drive scams awareness back to communities: we need to take away the loneliness, the shame and the stigma from victims and talk about scams. Let’s look out for our neighbours and our local people and check for the tell-tale signs of financial abuse and fraud.

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative that aims to tackle this ever-growing threat. Friends Against Scams aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to Take a Stand Against Scams.

Friends Against Scams aims to:

  • Highlight the scale of the problem by getting communities and the nation talking about scams;
  • Change the perceptions of why people become scam victims;
  • Prevent people from becoming or continuing to be a scam victim by providing more adequate support;
  • Recruit people to join the fight against scams to make this a scam-free nation.
     

To join our fight and become sign up to this initiative, please get in touch.

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Posted by: Louise Baxter

Louise is Manager of the National Trading Standards Scams Team.

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Posted by: Louise Baxter

Louise is Manager of the National Trading Standards Scams Team.

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