What we found out
Interviews and workshops with Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and older people revealed the stigma associated with fraud, 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.
But they also revealed the potential 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 widespread impact, helping to remove stigma, spread information and provide a listening ear.
What we did
From the insight gathered, we developed a variety of engagement tools to support a community response to tackling fraud. For example, a “talk about fraud” toolkit, a friendly and easy to read guide to scams, encouraging older people to speak up if they have any concerns, stickers with prompts written on them that help people with what to say when they receive unwanted telephone calls or doorstep callers to place strategically around the home and volunteer calling cards.
The approach has been trialled in the Buckinghamshire village of Cheddington, where Neighbourhood Watch coordinators were trained to advise older people (65+) how to better protect themselves from fraud and give practical and emotional support to those affected. This engagement is through a variety of methods, from one to one conversations to group sessions and coffee mornings.
Gail Steed, one of the coordinators, talked about how the project is helping older people through its inclusivity: “the project gives people 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”
Attendees at group sessions have stated they feel empowered and are spreading the word to other friends and relatives helping them to become more fraud aware. As a result, Cheddington residents are sharing concerns with their NW coordinators about their experience of fraud and are seeking support.
Training sessions have received support from local and national partner agencies - the National Trading Standards Scams Team and Local Trading Standards officers, Natwest Community Bankers and Thames Valley Police - pulling together existing training provision into a cohesive programme, delivered face to face, but also available online.
We found that there is a huge demand from people to become involved, with 100 more people in Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Newbury volunteering to be part of the project and attending training sessions.
The project is now being evaluated and we are working to identify how we can best sustain and grow the project in other areas.
Lessons in Developing and Testing Human Centred Approaches to Community-Based Fraud Prevention
Read Jayne Pascoe’s, 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’