Neighbourhood Watch teams in Sussex are calling for volunteers to join the Friends Against Scams scheme, saying the crime has ‘reached epidemic proportions’.
The scheme involves volunteers keeping an eye out for neighbours who may be elderly or vulnerable.
Andrew Moffat, chairman of the Horsham District Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network, said one of their coordinator had recently saved a potential victim from losing £2,000 due their swift action.
In a recent letter sent to Neighbourhood Watch coordinators, Mr Moffat said: “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 scams but the most common are fake lotteries, deceptive prize draws or sweepstakes, clairvoyants, computer scams, and romance scams.
“The criminals attempt to trick people with flashy, official looking documents or websites, or convincing telephone sales patter, with the aim of persuading them to send a processing or administration fee, pay postal or insurance costs or make a premium rate phone call.
“Doorstep Scams are crimes carried out by bogus callers, rogue traders and unscrupulous sales people who call, often uninvited, at people’s home under the guise of legitimate business or trade.”
Mr Moffat goes on to ask if coordinators would consider joining Friends Against Scams, which is a National Trading Standards initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.
He said the scheme is designed to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem, change the perceptions of why people fall for scams and make scams a community, regional and national topic.
Mr Moffat said: “By attending a Friends Against Scams awareness session or completing the online learning, anyone can learn about the different types of scams and how to spot and support a victim.
2With increased knowledge and awareness, people can make scams part of everyday conversation with their family, friends and neighbours, which will enable them to protect themselves and others.
“Anyone can be a Friend Against Scams and make a difference in their own way.”
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