Police release video to help protect vulnerable victims of fraud

Sussex Police campaign video still
Sussex Police campaign video still

Sussex Police has released a new video as part of a campaign to help protect vulnerable victims of fraud.

Many people across the south have been contacted by scammers who have tricked victims into handing over thousands of pounds.

Police and the Home Office have been working closely together in an operation known as Operation Signature with the aim of protecting those at risk of all types of fraud including investment scams, romance scams and fraudsters posing as officials.

The new film is currently being sent to a variety of audiences, focusing on banks and community groups with the purpose of raising awareness about the issue and encouraging them to work with police to help prevent the vulnerable from becoming victims.

Awareness sessions have been taken to banks including Santander, Barclays and NatWest across the county to advise how they can stop customers becoming victims and be vigilant about fraud cases.

87-year-old Dennis, from Worthing, appears in the video after he was conned out of around £1,000 by scammers who contacted him pretending to be his bank as well as the police

Bernadette Lawrie, financial abuse safeguarding officer, helped produce the film and said: “The new film encompasses all different fraud types affecting the vulnerable and elderly.

“It can be used to present the subject of these kinds of frauds to a variety of audiences and enable us to get across the impact of scams and frauds on vulnerable victims as well as providing advice and guidance around protective measures.

“We have already done lots of work with Trading Standards focusing on scam mail. Operation Signature now looks at all vulnerable victims of fraud.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Katy Bourne added: “As PCC and the daughter of an elderly mother, I feel it is vital that we listen, help and act on the concerns of our older citizens. That is why I have set up the Sussex Elders’ Commission.

“Nuisance calls and scams are one of the priority areas that members have identified.

“At their recent workshop PC Lawrie gave a talk on the subject and showed the scamming video. This was really well received by the commission members and will help inform their conversations in their local communities.”

As well as the film stickers, leaflets and posters have also been produced as part of the campaign.

There have been 960 reports of courier fraud in Sussex this year and most have been unsuccessful.

However, on 71 occasions money was lost by victims totalling £526,682.

Detective Inspector Gill Sole added: “There has been some fantastic work done in educating the public as to how to avoid becoming a victim of these despicable criminals. The public are recognising the scams and this is reflected in a drop in the number of victims.

“I would urge everyone to continue to spread the word, speak to your relatives and friends about this, and stop these criminals.

“Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer. Under no circumstances would the bank or police request a card PIN or security details over the telephone or arrange collection of bank cards from a home address.

“If you are suspicious contact the police on a different phone line if you have received a call you don’t trust or weren’t expecting. Don’t be afraid to say no and put the phone down, and tell someone about it if you have any doubt at all.”

If you, or someone you know, is being targeted by fraud/scams please contact Sussex Police on 101 or www.sussex.police.uk.

If you have been a victim of crime, you can report this to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre on 0300 123 2040.