Anti-fraud drive helps thousands

Examples of scam mail made by the SAFER team
Examples of scam mail made by the SAFER team
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A project to safeguard older residents from fraudsters has reached more than 12,000 people.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards’ SAFER Project is a community protection and empowerment programme that aims to enable people aged from 55 year old to spot and report scams by giving them the tools and knowledge needed to protect themselves.

In the last two years the project has recorded 12,209 attendees across West Yorkshire at awareness workshops at community groups and events and provided in-depth training to 2,320 frontline workers and volunteers on the tactics and warning signs around scams and frauds.

As the project enters the final year of current funding, the team are making arrangements to ensure they exceed the overall target reach of 18,000 as well as secure further funding to continue their work beyond 2017.

A West Yorkshire Trading Standards spokesperson said: “The project has been very successful with 98 per cent of attendees reporting an increased awareness of scams and doorstep crime as a result of the sessions. In addition, 98 per cent of older people indicated that they felt safer in their homes and more confident at dealing with doorstep callers thanks to the SAFER team.”

According to research by Citizens Advice, fraudsters cost UK consumers an estimated £10 billion a year, with the average person losing £2,500 to the various scams. Adding to the problem is the extremely low reporting rate of around eight per cent. Many people are too embarrassed to talk about falling victim to a scam, or may not realise they have done so.

The SAFER Project has been working to tackle the problem since 2012, launching a county-wide approach in 2015.