Fraud is the most prevalent crime in the UK. People are twice as likely to be a victim of fraud than any other crime. More than 53% of over 65s have been targeted by fraudsters and when older people are affected by fraud, their losses are more significant, and they have a greater risk of being targeted repeatedly. It is estimated that only 5% of offences are actually reported. The stigma associated with fraud means that many people hide the fact they have been scammed out of fear of looking foolish or unable to cope, which is a huge barrier to uncovering and tackling the issue.
Fraud can have a huge impact on people’s lives. The consequences of fraud on physical and mental health can be debilitating and long lasting and include shame, anger, loss of self-esteem and depression. A study of doorstep fraud showed that victims’ health declines faster than non-victims of a similar age and the knock-on effect can mean people going into care homes, and even dying sooner.
What is Communities that Care?
Neighbourhood Watch (NW) is determined to tackle these issues. Our Communities that Care programme was a community-led project helping older people protect themselves from fraud by harnessing the power of communities to overcome it. When so many of us know someone who has been affected by fraud, having conversations with friends, family and neighbours can have a widespread impact, helping to remove stigma, spread information and provide a listening ear.
Communities that Care has now been incorporated within our Cyberhood Watch Ambassador scheme.
What is involved?
Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators are trained to advise people on how to better protect themselves from fraud, to give practical and emotional help to those affected and signpost those who need greater support to the local agency best placed to provide it. This engagement can be through a variety of methods, from one-to-one conversations to group sessions and coffee mornings.
Printed resources are available in a Communities the Care Pack to help volunteers to share advice and support their vulnerable community members
- Calling cards so people have their Communities that Care volunteer’s telephone number at hand to call if they need some help.
- Telephone stickers giving people a short script to help them to close down unwanted calls or conversations with callers.
- Checklists for each type of fraud – online, doorstep, telephone and postal giving advice about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.
- An activity sheet so volunteers can keep a track of their activity and the positive impact they make.
How to get involved
Register your interest by clicking here
- Send your training certificate together with your address to email@example.com
- We will send you a Communities that Care pack with the resources you need to get started
- Complete the Activity Sheet on a 3 monthly basis and send it to us
Impact of Communities that Care
The Communities that Care pilot was assessed by external evaluators and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The programme reduced embarrassment and increased openness and dialogue about fraud within the community. Residents stated that they felt empowered to protect themselves and spread the word to other friends and relatives, helping them to become more fraud aware, as well as sharing concerns about fraud with their NW coordinators and seeking support.
“The project gives people the confidence to ask someone and report a potential scam. We have turned it into a community topic so it doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone is talking about it”
Communities that Care volunteer
“I’ve never felt so safe and secure since they’ve (NW) got involved.”
Read Jayne Pascoe’s (previous Neighbourhood Watch Head of Partnerships) blog on lessons in developing and testing human-centred approaches to community-based fraud prevention and support ‘Listening to our older people to help communities tackle fraud’