With consumer fraud on the rise, Neighbourhood Watch share their expert advice on avoiding common scams.
Almost 500,000 cases of consumer fraud were recorded in the UK over the last 13 months with reported losses of around £2.5 billion. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and using a wider range of techniques and platforms. With more of us online than ever and fewer interactions with friends and family to help sense-check and safeguard us over the last year, more and more people are getting caught out – especially via online shopping, personal banking, and investment fraud. All age groups are vulnerable – and it’s not just your finances at risk of being stolen. Personal data and private information are also extremely valuable to scammers.
As lockdown eases, ticket and holiday fraud are now particularly prevalent. Another recent scam sees victims contacted via email or text after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and being asked to take a fake post-vaccine survey with the promise of a cash prize. There’s also been a significant increase in delivery company-branded ‘smishing’ (SMS fraud), with scammers asking customers to click a link to reschedule deliveries or pay incomplete shipping charges.
“Any of us can be caught out by scammers. They deliberately target our better natures and use psychological tactics, like being overly friendly or pretending to do you a favour; making you a limited-time offer, telling you everyone else has done something or trapping you into doing little tasks for them. If you sense something’s not quite right, give a clear “no”. Politeness and fear of offending can make us more vulnerable – so we want to tell people it’s ok to be firm in telling scammers you are not interested.”
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network
Neighbourhood Watch is launching the SLING YOUR HOOK campaign on 5th July 2021 to help prevent as many people as possible from becoming victims of a scam. By raising awareness of the specific tactics fraudsters use, as well as encouraging us all to challenge and say no to suspicious requests or demands, the grassroots charitable movement aims to help us spot and challenge scams before it’s too late.
The campaign is the fourth partnership between Neighbourhood Watch and creative agency TMW Unlimited. It will run on Neighbourhood Watch’s social media channels for the month of July, as well as via direct email to their membership base. It makes use of the crime prevention brand’s iconic black and yellow colours, with bold animations, a clever fishing metaphor, and familiar language and phrases people can borrow for their own conversations about fraud with loved ones and their wider communities.
Alongside the social media campaign, Neighbourhood Watch will direct people to their website scams pages to find out more about specific scams and what to do if you’re a victim. They will also run a series of free educational webinars led by fraud prevention specialists.