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Beware the COVID scammers! New multi-agency campaign launched.

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CAN has joined with other prominent public and voluntary sector agencies from across Norfolk to warn residents to be extra vigilant of new and existing scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A three-week campaign is being headed up by the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, with partners including CAN, the County Council’s Trading Standards department, Norfolk Police, Norfolk Adult Safeguarding Board, and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCCN).

Rik Martin, Development Manager at CAN, is a designated spokesperson for the current anti-scams campaign. “There is lots of help and advice available but it’s not always easy for people who may feel embarrassed that they have been the victim of a scam. We are urging residents to feel comfortable reaching out and to sign up for scam alerts here, so that they feel more informed and confident when confronted with something that could potentially defraud them.”

Key messages and updates can be found on CAN’s Facebook page here  and Twitter here, along with the other partners’ social media platforms each week, using the hashtag #NorfolkScamAware, and focussing on the following themes:

  • Trusted information – to guide the public to useful information and support agencies.
  • Protect – to give advice on how people can better equip themselves to identify the signs of scamming.
  • Watch Out – to make victims aware of the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service and the new scams that have emerged due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Read all about how Norfolk Against Scams Partnership aims to make Norfolk a scams-free county here  and sign up for consumer and business scam alerts here.

Margaret Dewsbury, the chair of Norfolk Against Scams Partnership says: “Being scammed or targeted by fraud can have a devastating impact on vulnerable people and small businesses. We hope this social media campaign will not only go some way towards helping and supporting people who have been affected by scams but also towards preventing the increase in this type of fraud.”

Lorne Green, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, added: “Fraud affects thousands of people across Norfolk every year. Last year, more than 6,500 frauds were reported in the county, but with scammers seeking to exploit people’s increased isolation and vulnerability during the Coronavirus pandemic, we could see that figure increase significantly this year. Most often it is the vulnerable in our society who are targeted and exploited by scammers but, particularly at this time, anyone could be a victim.”

Scams, by their very nature, can often be difficult to spot. Citizens Advice offer helpful pointers on what to look out for here.  You can report a scam to Citizens Advice consumer helpline online here or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone), or you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud office here  or by calling 0300 123 2040.

And you can read more at the national Friends Against Scams campaign, where more than 470,000 people have  already signed up as supporters here.