Describe your best practice
From February 2017, we embarked on a sequence of meetings to help increase the awareness of the many types of fraud and the diversity of the problems that exist. These meetings include presentations on doorstep scams, postal scams, telephone scams, and cyber-crime. Many of the meetings have been deliberately held in the afternoon to attract older people or were held by invitations from groups representing older and/or disabled people.
What did you do and why?
To date, we have held 56 meetings with 12 of them being open to the public (free of charge), the others being by invitation from private groups. These groups have varied from a dozen or so people at coffee mornings in sheltered housing sites to several dozen members of organised clubs, many being for retired people or the disabled.
We were prompted into doing this because we felt that neither the police nor Trading Standards had a presence in terms of providing widespread advice to help prevent these crimes. Furthermore, we felt that there was a lack of awareness in the community as to the considerable volume of these problems and in their considerable diversity. We have also been interviewed 12 times on local radio stations in the last 2 years on this same subject.
Duration of the project
The project began in February 2017 and it is still in progress.
What worked well?
Around 1,500 people have attended our meetings to date. The feedback from audiences has been very positive and appreciative. Many people have realised that what they dismissed as a nuisance was potentially going to develop into fraud. We have been able to encourage the reporting of actual and attempted problems to the police and to Action Fraud.
In many cases, those attending our meetings have recommended us to other organisations for similar meetings to be held for their members. We have been able to provide useful booklets and leaflets on cons& scams from Get Safe Online, Think Jessica, and Age UK as well as to encourage visits to our website and its many links on this subject.
In May 2018, as a result of our activities, Friends Against Scams gave us ‘Organisation’ status and appointed our Director of Operation as a ‘Scambassador’.
How did you overcome any challenges?
We already had funds available from our sales of security products and from sponsorships to enable us to hire halls for the 12 meetings open to the public. The cost of the other 44 meetings was the responsibility of the organisations inviting us. So, we were able to hold all of these meetings without cost to those attending.
The challenges were in finding the time for so many meetings and to find suitable locations for the meetings organised by us – all modest challenges!
How did you cover any costs?
As stated above, we had funds available to hire halls for the 12 meetings open to the public – a total of around £350 to £400. The cost of the other 44 meetings was covered by the organisations inviting us.