Surrey County Council has been officially accredited as a “Friends Against Scams” (FAS) organisation. FAS is an initiative run by the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team that aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.
The accreditation follows on from some impressive work by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, which has seen them:
- Train 22,269 Friends Against Scams
- Train 161 SCAMchampions
- Train 152 Scam Marshals
- Instal 562 call blockers
- Instal 38 doorbell cameras
The impact of this work can be seen in the financial impact of their interventions which between April 2019 and December 2022 generated savings of £66milion.
In addition to the accreditation, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety Denise Turner-Stewart officially joined the initiative as a “SCAMbassador”.
SCAMbassador’s protect the public from scams and the damage they cause by working with members of both their community and at national level to educate and support those who may be vulnerable to scams.
Scams affect millions of people across the UK and cost consumers an estimated £5-10 billion of detriment of each year. The people who are targeted are often in the most vulnerable circumstances and the impact on their lives is devastating – from large financial losses to severe emotional damage which leaves victims feeling intimidated, scared and afraid to be in their home.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety said: “I’m delighted to become an official SCAMbassador and to help Friends Against Scams continue their vital work in protecting the public against exploitative and deceitful fraudsters.
“Anyone can become a victim of scams but they often target the most vulnerable in society and these criminals and fraudulent practices must be stopped.
“I would urge residents and business alike to attend one of the online FAS training webinars delivered monthly by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards Service and if you are plagued by nuisance and scam telephone calls email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you are eligible for a free call blocker.
“Scams damage lives, affecting people both financially and emotionally, but together with the Friends Against Scams Team, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and our very own Trading Standards Team, we will do all we can to keep residents safe.”
Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “The tactics used by criminals leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. “It is fantastic to have such an influential figure in the community to help us tackle this problem on a local, regional and national level and I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our growing SCAMbassador network.”
Surrey County Council News Service