Campaign to protect vulnerable people from fraud in Sussex

Trading Standards and the Citizens' Advice Bureau are working together in the fight against fraudsters.
Trading Standards and the Citizens' Advice Bureau are working together in the fight against fraudsters.

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 which is available now.

The new film 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.”

The film features a pensioner called Dennis, who is 87 and was conned out of around £1,000 by scammers who contacted him pretending to be his bank as well as the police.

Courier fraud, where fraudsters call and trick people into handing over cards, cash and PIN numbers to a courier on the 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 said, “The public are recognising 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 relatives and friends about this, and stop the 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 phone or arrange collection of bank cards from a home address.”


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