Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK. The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team estimates that UK consumers lose between £5 and £10 billion a year, as a result of scams. This post looks at the great work being done by Friends Against Scams to help tackle scams – and loneliness.
Scams come in many forms; uninvited contact is received by email, letter, and telephone or in person making false promises to con victims out of money. There are many of these sorts of scams but some of the most common are fake lotteries, deceptive prize draws or sweepstakes, clairvoyants, computer scams, and romance scams. Postal, telephone and doorstep scams are often targeted at disadvantaged consumers or those in periods of vulnerability. People who are scammed often experience loneliness, shame and social isolation.
Friends Against Scams
Friends Against Scams is a NTS Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to “Take a Stand Against Scams”.
Friends Against Scams has been created to tackle the lack of scams awareness. The scheme provides information about scams and those who fall victim to them. This information enables communities and organisations to:
- understand scams
- talk about scams and
- share messages throughout those communities.
Friends Against Scams encourages communities and organisations to take the knowledge learnt and turn it into action. The scheme aims to raise awareness of the impact of scams. People can:
- attend an awareness session or
- complete an online learning course to help people recognise the signs that someone might be at risk, for example loneliness.
These messages enable people to take action and look out for each other in their local communities and learn how to support them. This could be recognising a neighbour who is lonely and inviting them round for dinner, having a chat about scams, and being somebody there who can listen.
We aim to tackle loneliness by encouraging people to talk to family, friends and people in their community about scams and the good work they are doing. Friends Against Scams have also recently launched a Pen Pal program where Scam Marshals can write to other Scam Marshals about their experiences or for just a chat.
How you can help
Anybody can join Friends Against Scams and make a difference in their own way. To complete the online learning to become a Friend please visit: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk
For 80 years, WaveLength has led the way with delivering change for lonely and isolated people. We give televisions, radios, and tablets to help relieve loneliness.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from technology, take a look at the ‘Apply for Help’ section of our website.
We have also created a handy page of resources to help people who might be lonely. Visit our ‘Helpful Services’ for more.