Schemes to help Norfolk 'Take a Stand Against Scams' set for discussion next week

28 February 2018

The establishment of a Norfolk Against Scams Partnership and the County Council stepping-up to become a flagship Friends Against Scams local authority will both be considered by councillors at next week’s Communities Committee on Wednesday 7 March, at 10am.

Mass marketing scams are a form of financial abuse which affects the lives of millions of people in the UK. Lonely and older people are most at risk, although anyone can fall victim to a scam. It is estimated that between £5billion and £10billion is lost every year by UK consumers to this form of fraud.

On average victims will have lost £1,000 or more before they realise they have been scammed. Norfolk Trading Standards’ experience of working with victims of scams confirms these figures. A West Norfolk victim, aged over 80, whom the service is currently helping, has lost over £85,000.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of the Communities Committee, said: “We’re very pleased that The National Trading Standards Scams Team would like to form a partnership with us. A partnership which aims to protect people and to prevent them from becoming victims of financial abuse through mass marketing scams.

“The formation of the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership (NASP) would involve a commitment from the Council to spread the message to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’, and I’m keen to invite fellow Members to become Scambassadors as part of the Friends Against Scams network and start spreading the word.”

National Trading Standards’ Scambassador information shows that nationally financial abuse through scamming is an under-reported crime. Currently it is estimated that only 5% of this type of fraud is recorded. The figures also indicate that more than 53% of people aged 65 or over have been targeted by scams, and although the average age of a scam victim is 75, victims can be as young as 19.

Should the NASP be formed the authority would take the lead in bringing together organisations from the public and private sectors, the voluntary sector, community groups, and individuals in the county, to raise a concerted heightened awareness of scams. Norfolk County Council would encourage Friends Against Scams training across all NCC employees and the council would support its Members to voluntarily become Scambassadors in their divisions.

A Norfolk Against Scams Partnership (NASP) would:

  • Inspire action by a wide range of agencies and organisations across the county
  • Highlight the scale of the impact of scams on people’s lives in Norfolk
  • Change the perceptions of why people fall for scams
  • Make scams a community, local, regional and national topic
  • Build on the work that Norfolk Trading Standards has led on to recruit 528 Friends Against Scams in Norfolk so far

View papers for the Communities Committee meeting on Wednesday 7 March

For political comment

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury (Conservative) Chairman of the Communities Committee, on 01603 759693
Cllr Julie Brociek-Coulton (Labour), on 07786 694325
Cllr Sarah Butikofer (Liberal Democrat), on 07968 897235
Cllr Sandra Squire (Independent), on 07817 160725

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