Residents in Cannock Chase and South Staffordshire are being encouraged to be aware of scams during this festive period as part of a new campaign called STOP the scams.
The Community Safety teams from both localities have joined forces to launch this campaign to help raise awareness of what fraud could be and how to identify if something is a scam.
Fraud is when a person lies to you, or 'scams' you, to gain an advantage, such as taking your money or learning private information about you. The fraud can be committed either online, in person or via post.
Sadly, a high proportion of fraud victims are likely to be over 65 but the campaign aims to reduce the number of people falling victim to a scam as well as encouraging people to report their experiences. It will look at the main types of scams and provide useful tips about how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Campaign messages will be displayed on refuse and housing vehicles, posters, newsletters and social media and a radio campaign will be live over the festive period along with a useful video. A detailed booklet will also be available.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Portfolio Leader for Community Safety and Partnerships, said “The local Community Safety Partnership is committed to raising awareness amongst the local community and preventing people becoming victims of a scam.
“Sadly, those vulnerable to fraud are also often vulnerable to ‘door-step’ crime, which may involve intimidating and aggressive behaviour or an element of befriending or grooming of the victim to facilitate offending or repeat victimisation.
“This campaign will not only provide people with useful information but also details of local support services so people can report a crime and to get support if required.
If you suspect it’s a scam - REPORT it. Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk”
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams said: “The Christmas period can bring with it an increase in fraud, which might be online shopping scams as people search for great deals on gifts for their loved ones, or fraudsters targeting vulnerable victims by post or in person.
“I’m pleased to see the Locality Deal Fund being used to support this important campaign, which will raise awareness of a real concern at this time of year, and help people have a happy and safe Christmas.”
Detective Inspector Kerry Skingle, Staffordshire Police lead for fraud, said: “Fraudsters often look to exploit the vulnerable by using a variety of tactics – including door-to-door scamming, online and cyber fraud, banking scams and bribery.
“Every year, the public across the UK lose billions of pounds to fraudsters. This festive period brings with it extra financial challenges and we want to continue our work with local partners to ensure those responsible are brought to justice and our communities are protected from fraudsters.”
This forms part of the Council’s wider safeguarding work and has been funded by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Locality Deal Fund.
You can find out more by picking up a copy of the useful guide to avoiding scams at the Council's main reception or by visiting visit www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk/itsascam