Sussex Police is reinvigorating a campaign to protect vulnerable victims of fraud highlighted by a new film focused on supporting those at risk.
The force and Home Office have been working closely together to protect those vulnerable to all types of fraud, known as Operation Signature, which range from investment to romance scams, and increasingly with fraudsters posing as officials to dupe vulnerable people into giving them money.
As part of this, the force has created a new awareness film:
The film features Dennis, aged 87 from Worthing, who was conned out of around £1,000 by scammers who contacted him pretending to be his bank as well as the police.
The video is currently being delivered to a variety of audiences, focusing on banks and community groups with the purpose of raising awareness about the issue and encouraging them to work with the force to help prevent the vulnerable from becoming victims. Awareness sessions have been taken to banks including Santander, Barclays and NatWest across the county to speak to them about how they can stop customers becoming victims and be vigilant about fraud cases.
As well as people being able to watch the film there are supporting products including stickers, leaflets and posters which will be distributed around the county.
Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer who helped produce the film, said:
The new film encompasses all different fraud types affecting the vulnerable and elderly. It can be used to present the subject of these kinds of frauds to a variety of audiences and enable us to get across the impact of scams and frauds on vulnerable victims as well as providing advice and guidance around protective measures. We have already done lots of work with Trading Standards focusing on scam mail. Operation Signature now looks at all vulnerable victims of fraud.
Courier fraud, where fraudsters call and trick people into handing over cards, cash and PIN numbers to a courier on your doorstep, by pretending to be the police or banks has risen over the last year. This year there have been 960 reports of this type of crime in Sussex, most have been unsuccessful but on 71 occasions money was lost by victims totalling £526,682.
Detective Inspector Gill Sole added:
There has been some fantastic work done in educating the public as to how to avoid becoming a victim of these despicable criminals. The public are recognising the scams and this is reflected in a drop in the number of victims. I would urge everyone to continue to spread the word, speak to your relatives and friends about this, and stop these criminals. Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer. Under no circumstances would the bank or police request a card PIN or security details over the telephone or arrange collection of bank cards from a home address. If you are suspicious contact the police on a different phone line if you have received a call you don’t trust or weren’t expecting. Don’t be afraid to say no and put the phone down, and tell someone about it if you have any doubt at all.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said:
As PCC and the daughter of an elderly mother, I feel it is vital that we listen, help and act on the concerns of our older citizens. That is why I have set up the Sussex Elders’ Commission. Nuisance calls and scams are one of the priority areas that members have identified. At their recent workshop PC Lawrie gave a talk on the subject and showed the scamming video. This was really well received by the commission members and will help inform their conversations in their local communities.
If you, or someone you know, is being targeted by fraud/scams please contact Sussex Police on 101 or www.sussex.police.uk. If you have been a victim of crime, you can report this to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre on 0300 123 2040.