Be a champion and help put a stop to scammers
Trading standards set up training to block fraudsters who prey on vulnerable people
Iris, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, lives by herself and was scammed out of around £5,000 after being targeted by roof work scams for around five years.
Recent statistics, published by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, show Iris’s experience is not an isolated one – more than 100 doorstep crimes were reported last year which targeted “older and more vulnerable people”.
Between 2016 and 2017, the highest value rogue seller scam was a £20,000 roofing fraud in Gerrards Cross.
However, Trading Standards suggest the figure could be much higher, as it’s known only around 10% of cases are actually reported.
In order to crack down on doorstep rogue sellers, Noel Brown, Bucks County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, is appealing for more neighbours like Iris’s.
To coincide with national Scams Awareness Month, Mr Brown is launching a training programme for Scams Champions – residents willing to look out for their vulnerable neighbours.
Scams Champions are trained to provide information and awareness raising sessions about doorstep crime, postal and telephone scams to community and business groups, schools and other agencies.
This helps them to spot the signs that someone is being scammed and know how to report any suspicions that someone they know is in thrall to scammers.
Volunteer Tom Dent is currently helping Trading Standards in South Bucks to protect a number of scam victims who have collectively lost over £1,000,000.
He said: “It’s a real eyeopener on the devious ways of doorstep criminals, and really does prepare you to identify the early tell-tale signs.”
Noel said Buckinghamshire needed Scams Champions to help protect vulnerable people and make a big dent in the estimated £4,000,000 a year they are being scammed out of.
“This isn’t just about saving money,” he said.
“Where Trading Standards officers can intervene early, it can reduce the distress victims often feel.
“Last year, our officers managed to save them well over £255,000, but you can’t put a price on feeling safe in your in your own home – and this is where the Scam Champions can really help.”
Scam Champion training has so far been scheduled on:
Thursday July 27 (1pm to 4pm) at Beaconsfield Fire Station,
Thursday August 10 (1.30-3.30pm) at Haddenham Fire Station, September 5 (1.30-3.30pm) at Gerrards Cross Fire Station; and
Tuesday October 10 (1.30-3.30pm) at Haddenham Fire Station.