Scams often target people in vulnerable situations – the new 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. Founding partners of the campaign include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Each year scams cause UK consumers to lose between £5bn and £10bn. 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 will be available online and in person at local awareness sessions. These 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.
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.
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.”
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."