Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK. People who are scammed often experience shame and social isolation as a result.
Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to "Take a Stand Against Scams".
Friends Against Scams has been created to tackle the lack of scams awareness by providing information about scams and those who fall victim to them. This information enables communities and organisations to understand scams, talk about scams and cascade messages throughout communities about scams prevention and protection.
Friends Against Scams encourages communities and organisations to take the knowledge learnt and turn it into action.
Anybody can join Friends Against Scams and make a difference in their own way.
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Why I am proud to be a SCAMbassador - Tell2, Protect Many
By Tony Murray, National Protect/Prevent Officer, City of London Police
Tony Murray is the National Protect/Prevent Officer and award-winning fraud & cybercrime expert currently seconded in his role to City of London Police National Co-Ordinators Office. Tony supports and promotes Friends Against Scams as he believes it is a ‘network that empowers people to protect themselves, family and the community in which they live’. It’s a fantastic anti-fraud community that builds knowledge, educates and helps protect.
I’ve been dealing with fraud on a daily basis for 8 years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the key to beating it is through education.
I’m proud to be a SCAMbassador and I encourage people to sign up to become a ‘Friend Against Scams and SCAMchampion’. They have some great advice on their website and the beauty is that the awareness session is available online. If you’re not signed up yet, do it now. Click here to start the session.
I’ve seen the emotional pain caused to victims of fraud, it hurts people emotional, physically and financially. Often the emotional pain is the hardest. This is why I and ‘Friends Against Scams’ need you to help in protecting those closest to you.
To know how to beat it, you need to know how it works. There are FIVE key routes that fraudsters take to get into our homes and lives:
1. The Home Telephone. Be wary of any unsolicited contact from callers purporting to be businesses. Hang up and #Takefive (a national campaign to encourage all to stop and think, change behaviours to help stop fraud). Always verify the phone number via trusted means. Don’t call back right away! Fraudsters can keep a phone line open for up to 10 seconds and can spoof your called display to read as ANY genuine number.
2. The Internet. Keep your computer and anti-virus software up-to-date, don’t use the same password for every account, use #ThreeRandomWords and become #CyberAware. If a fraudster gets one password, make sure they don’t get them all. You wouldn’t have all key for all locks, check and ensure that those around you know.
3. The Mobile Phone. It’s hard to tell where links sent in text messages are really taking you, so don’t click them. Fraudsters can fake contact names and even hijack existing message threads with people you know and trust. I say NEVER click links or call numbers given in ANY text from business, #Takefive to verify the message as authentic via a trusted method first.
4. The Doorstep. Not expecting visitors? Don’t let them in, even if they claim to be from a trusted source. Call their office, verify them, and rearrange another visit.
5. The Letterbox. Junk mail is exactly that – junk.
Take the time to verify all unsolicited contact from business, even if you think it’s a waste of time. Choose security over convenience, and if you really want to hit fraud where it hurts, tell your friends to do the same and ask them to sign up become #FAS. The #Tell2 campaign, which I’ve spearheaded on Twitter for over two years now, takes that idea and runs with it. To protect countless potential victims, I’m encouraging each one of you to share this knowledge with two other people.
An unbroken chain of 26 'tell2’ers' would reach over 67 million people – more than the entire UK population. #Tell2, protect many.
Remember, beating fraud isn’t just about keeping your identity safe. It’s about cutting off the funds that are fuelling serious and organised crime locally, nationally and internationally.
Tony operates the Twitter account @CityPoliceTell2, where he shares regular counter-fraud advice.