Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has become the latest figurehead to join a national campaign aimed at protecting people from scams.
The PCC has signed up as a SCAMbassador to the National Trading Standards’ Friends Against Scams scheme pledging to use his influence to raise awareness of the plight of millions of fraud victims across the UK every year.
The announcement comes as the county marks Scams Awareness Month – a national campaign run by Citizens Advice and Trading Standards to support projects which provide consumers with the skills and confidence to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting suspicious activity.
Victims lose an average of £1,000 through online, postal, telephone or doorstep scams but some have even lost homes and their life savings.
The psychological impact of scams can be devastating with elderly victims experiencing feelings of fear, isolation and vulnerability.
Mr Dhindsa said: “I’m delighted to sign up as a SCAMbassador for this incredibly important campaign. Hundreds of people living across Derbyshire, including the most vulnerable members of our communities, have suffered at the hands of fraudsters who prey on the trusting, good-hearted nature of their victims.
“The dreadful tactics used by scammers can have terrible emotional consequences on the lives of their victims, impacting on their independence, feelings of safety, confidence and quality of life. Many victims have lost a life’s worth of hard work and financial security at the touch of a button; it’s vital we stop this problem by arming consumers with the knowledge they need to protect themselves.
“I fully support Trading Standards and its partners for bringing attention to this serious issue and will do everything in my power to encourage people to take action against these heinous criminals and prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people.”
National Trading Standards, which operates a NTS Scams Team hosted by East Sussex Trading Standards, has created a cross-party group to protect people from scams and the damage they inflict called the #SCAMbassador network.
The network asks MPs, senior officials and community leaders to pledge their support to the Friends Against Scams campaign and raise awareness of scams.
Training sessions and online learning projects are also available for members of the public and community champions who want to learn about the different types of scams and how to spot and support a victim.
There are a variety of scams affecting UK consumers from those which persuade victims to part with money as a result of postal, telephone or email correspondence through fictitious prize draws, false investment opportunities or fraudulent pension schemes to those which take place on the doorstep and involve victims handing over extortionate sums of money for unnecessary building or gardening work not completed.
Many criminals operate overseas out of the reach of UK authorities, hide under company identities or intimidate their victims into silence.
Since the NTS Scams Team launched in 2012, 177 local authorities have signed up and 20,464 victims have been identified throughout the UK.
For more information visit: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.
Editors Note: Mr Dhindsa will be attending the Financial Abuse/Scam Awareness Raising Bus (10am-10.30am) which is visiting the Market Place at Ripley on Friday 28th July.
The Bus is open from 8.30am to 3pm and is being manned by representatives from the Safer Neighbourhood Team, Adult Care, Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults Board, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, Derbyshire Districts CAB and NatWest Bank.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 27th July 2017