Launch of national anti-scam campaign
A new campaign aiming to give communities - and particularly their vulnerable members - the confidence and skills to avoid scams begins today.
The Friends Against Scams campaign follows findings by National Trading Standards (NTS) that victims are often too embarrassed to talk about their experience and left socially isolated.
NTS is running sessions across the country from today to help people identify and prevent themselves from falling victim to scams.
NTS said scams cause between £5 billion and £10 billion worth of detriment to UK consumers each year and can also have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.
The campaign aims to highlight the scale of the issue by encouraging communities to talk about scams, change perceptions around why people become victims and provide better support.
Louise Baxter, from 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."
NTS chairman Lord Toby Harris 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."