Be a cham­pion and help put a stop to scam­mers

Trad­ing stan­dards set up train­ing to block fraudsters who prey on vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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