Friends Against Scams campaign launches in Suffolk as crackdown on criminal activity continues
The crackdown on scams in Suffolk is gaining momentum with the launch of a new trading standards campaign.
Friends Against Scams, which aims to empower communities to take a stand against scams and fraudulent activity, is inspired by schemes such as dementia friends.
Suffolk Trading Standards chiefs are encouraging everyone in the county to join them in the fight against scams and sign up as a “friend”.
Community engagement officer Sasha Watson said: “Friends Against Scams leads on from our Christmas social media campaign to end loneliness in the elderly.
“We’re calling on everyone in Suffolk to sign up and be a friend.
“All people have to do is watch a little video and answer a couple of questions, it takes around 20 minutes or so to do it.
“Then they will get a certificate saying they are a friend – then, they will play a role in helping vulnerable people in their community or neighbourhood.
She added: “This scheme is open to everyone of all ages.
“It’s mostly about raising awareness of the types of scams and how to protect people.
“It also shows the true scale of the problem – scams are really under-reported and although the average age of a scam victim is 75, you still get people affected in their 20s but they don’t report it.”
Ms Watson and the team aim to have 500 people sign up by the end of the year.
Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection is also firmly behind the campaign.
He said: “(Scam victims) can often experience loneliness, shame and social isolation – but they should not feel embarrassed as it can happen to anyone.
“Friends Against Scams is a national initiative and we are looking to play our part by encouraging people to take action, highlight the scale of the problem, change the perception of why people fall victim to scams and to highlight the impact scams have, both locally and nationally.
He added: “One way you can also help reduce the impact of scams is by telling five friends about the scheme or by becoming a mail marshal.
“If you or someone you know is inundated with scam mail, you can send it to the National Trading Standards’ Scams Team, who can then track those behind these scams and put a stop to their criminal activities.”
Email Trading Standards to become a mail marshal.