A local mental health trust has joined forces with Dudley Council by signing up to become a ‘friend against scams’ organisation.
It’s estimated £3.1 million is lost to financial criminals in Dudley borough alone, every year, with often the most vulnerable and lonely residents being the prime target.
Friends against scams is a National Trading Standards initiative, which aims to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem and change the perceptions of why people fall victim to scams.
Dudley Council signed up to the initiative to confirm its commitment to putting a stop to the illegal activity of heartless scammers. Since it joined, the authority has been calling on local organisations and businesses to follow suit and support them in their efforts.
Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has joined the initiative and confirmed its commitment to helping and protecting the most vulnerable people in communities. The trust will now train staff to highlight the warning signs.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
I’m really pleased the trust has pledged to become a ‘friend against scams’ and support our efforts to raise awareness of the severity financial scams can place on the victims, who are some of our most vulnerable residents.
The better we understand the warning signs, the quicker we’ll all be able to respond and hopefully reduce the risk of people losing huge amounts of money, sometimes amounting to their life savings.
Any organisation or business is welcome to join the initiative, we’d love to hear from you.
Sharon Latham, head of safeguarding at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said:
We are delighted to be part of this important campaign that aims to raise awareness of scams.
We are looking forward to working with partners to raise awareness and fight the battle against scammers. We support some of the most vulnerable people in society and it’s important that we help protect them from this type of activity that can have a devastating effect on people’s lives.
In 2017 Dudley Council launched a scams unit to tackle the increasing problem of financial scams in the borough. It is primarily working with vulnerable residents who often find themselves on so called ‘sucker lists’ which are used by financial criminals to identify and prey on their victims.
Any business or organisation interested in becoming a ‘friend against scams’ or anyone concerned they or someone they know may have fallen victim to financial scams should call the council’s scams unit on 01384 818871 or email email@example.com
The authority has also made a National Trading Standards (NTS) online course available on the Dudley Council’s training portal, which focuses on the national friends against scams initiative.
The course helps to raise awareness of the types of scams, the warning signs of someone falling victim and what to do if someone has potentially been targeted. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and is free.