FIGHT TO RID COUNTY OF SCAMS

A scam-busting initiative to prevent residents from becoming victims of fraud has won the backing of county councillors.

Members of East Sussex County Council have shown their commitment to the fight to protect residents by becoming SCAMbassadors for Friends Against Scams – a scheme to help people spot and stop scams.

On Tuesday, July 10, councillors took part in the first formal training, finding out first-hand how scammers operate and what they can do to help stop residents from falling victim.

Cllr Bill Bentley, the county council’s lead member for communities and safety, said: “As councillors, we are quite often out and about in our communities meeting people from all walks of life. Being a SCAMbassador means we can use the knowledge we have learnt to raise awareness of scams across our towns and villages.

“Being a victim of a scam can have a devastating impact – both financially and emotionally, and anything we can do as councillors to support the work of Trading Standards and prevent people falling foul of scammers is a good thing.”

Scams come in many forms; uninvited contact is received by email, letter, telephone or in person making false promises to con victims out of money.

Commonly reported scams include fake investment opportunities, bogus lotteries, deceptive prize draws or sweepstakes, clairvoyants, computer software service fraud, romance scams, health supplement scams, subscription traps, and the sale of defective and potentially dangerous products.

Scammers tend to target vulnerable people, but anyone can fall victim to the crime whether contacted by post, email, telephone, online or in person.

Friends Against Scams is an initiative developed by the National Trading Standards Scams Team –hosted by East Sussex County Council, which recruits and trains volunteer Friends, SCAMchampions and SCAMbassadors who share messages about scams prevention with friends, family, neighbours, and community groups.

Locally, the East Sussex Against Scams Partnership, run by the Safer East Sussex Team, helps to protect residents from scams by raising awareness through partner organisations, such as local businesses, charities, church groups, community enterprises and councils. The county currently has more than 90 partners who have pledged their support.

For more information about Friends Against Scams and how to get involved, visit https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/

To find out more about the East Sussex Against Scams Partnership visit http://www.safeineastsussex.org.uk/ESASP.html

Photo Caption:  Councillors took part in a Friends Against Scams training session with Trading Standards officers Lee Ede (right) and Elaine Bowdery (left)