The national Scam Awareness Month campaign, held every, helps to bring awareness to the risk of financial scams, and the impact that they can have on a person’s life – whether they are by phone, online, mail or on the doorstep. Scams can be hugely detrimental to a victim’s life; although most tend to be relatively small, often unreported, some can see people lose their life savings.

As part of the National Trading Standard’s Scams Team Friends Against Scams initiative, Reading Trading Standards has been working closely with 5th Tilehurst Guides again for this year’s Scam Awareness Month to help raise awareness of financial scams in Reading. The Guides have helped to create a new "Friends Against Scams” badge, which they hope will help to raise awareness of financial scams and the effects these can have on families, as well as raise money for the purchase of Call Blocker devices for residents across the town – the first GirlGuiding group in Reading to do so.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said:

"This is a brilliant initiative for raising awareness of such an important issue by 5th Tilehurst Guides. The badge they have created will not only help to spread awareness, but is a great way of raising money to help protect residents against potential scams through the purchase of call blockers.

I would urge more people across Reading to get involved as well by joining the Friends Against Scams campaign to take a stand against scams in Reading – community support is so important.”

Kim Jakubiszyn, Leader of 5th Tilehurst Guides said:

"The girls enjoyed receiving their scams training and afterwards were really concerned that other members of GirlGuiding across the country as well as people of all ages may not know they are being scammed. So once again the girls put their heads together and designed a new badge, this one to raise awareness of the Friends Against Scams Campaign and the National Trading Standards Scams Team across the Country. We want everyone to be more aware of Scams and so hope that by selling these badges to anyone in the community, we can signpost people to more information and support. The badges are unique and 30p from every one sold will go towards purchasing Call Blockers for people in Reading who might need them. I am so proud of my girls and their continued challenge of anything that has a negative impact on their families and communities, they are always proving over and over that #GuidesMakeInformedDecisions.”

Louise Baxter from the National Trading Standards Scams Team said:

"Family, friends, neighbours and community groups such as the Girl Guides play a crucial role in helping protect consumers and preventing them from falling victim to scams. As well as leaving people out of pocket – we estimate £5-£10 billion is lost to scams each year in the UK – victims are often lead to loneliness, shame and social isolation, which is why we’re committed to working with the Girl Guides and supporting them to spread the key messages for us.

We are delighted that the Guides have decided to support the Friends Against Scams campaign and we would like this model to be rolled out nationally. We find that scams specifically mail and doorstep scams tend to be targeted at older people and members of our communities who find themselves in vulnerable situations, which is why community support and prevention to stop people falling victim to scams in the first place are so important.

"To help protect and prevent your friends, family and neighbours from criminal scams you can sign up to free training by joining our Friends Against Scams campaign: We are asking communities to TAKE A STAND AGAINST SCAMS. In the meantime, I’d urge anyone who is suspects they or a loved one may be a victim of scams to report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”


Notes to editors

5th Tilehurst Guides are a small Guide Group of girls, aged 10 and above, based in Tilehurst, Reading. They are part of GirlGuiding, which is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. GirlGuiding Groups across the Country empower nearly half a million girls to be their best and face the challenges of growing up today.

Call blockers are devices that allow a person to screen calls coming into their phone and reject, and even block, calls from numbers that they do not recognise. They can be purchased as a standalone addition to a phone, or as part of a phone package.