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With an estimated £3.1 million pounds lost to financial scammers every year in Dudley borough alone, two Dudley councillors have vowed to put an end to this as the borough’s first SCAMbassadors.
National figures suggest Dudley borough residents lose on average at least one million pounds to doorstep crime and nearly £2.1million to postal scams every year.
With these figures expected to rise, Dudley Council’s trading standards launched a new scams unit at the end of last year, to tackle the growing problem.
The unit was predominantly set up to help prevent scams and target financial criminals who prey on the most vulnerable people on ‘sucker lists’. The people on these lists are often older, lonely and vulnerable and the criminals know they are more likely to be susceptible to financial scams.
In a move that cements the council’s commitment to putting an end to financial scams, the authority has signed up to the national friends against scams campaign with the council’s health and wellbeing and adult social care bosses becoming SCAMbassadors.
Friends against scams is a National Trading Standards (NTS) scams team initiative. It aims to encourage people and organisations to ‘take a stand against scams’. As part of the campaign, SCAMbassadors are asked to raise awareness of the issues of scams in their area.
Councillor Cathy Bayton, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
“It’s really important that we as an authority do all we can to put an end to this heartless criminal activity that’s targeting the most vulnerable in our communities.
As SCAMbassador for the authority, I will drive our commitment to put an end to this in our borough. All of us can work together to raise awareness of how we can spot potential scams and protect our loved ones, friends and neighbours from falling victim.”
Councillor John Martin, cabinet member for adult social care, said:
It’s not ok to defraud anyone but targeting our most vulnerable residents really is the lowest of the low. This is completely unacceptable and I’m pleased our scams unit is already supporting those most in need. Not only are they easing their distress by helping them recover their losses but they are also helping them spot the warning signs, should they be targeted again in the future.”
Information about how the council will support the campaign will be shared at a conference taking place next week.
The ‘Shine a light – the hidden crime of financial abuse’ event is for professionals and will also highlight the financial abuse and scamming of older and vulnerable people across the West Midlands.
If anyone is concerned that they or someone they know may have fallen victim to financial scams, they should contact the Trading Standards’ scams unit on 01384 818871 or via firstname.lastname@example.org