Guinness Care is launching a new partnership with Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.
Guinness has given itself an ambitious target of reaching 500 Friends Against Scams by December 2020. This will involve recruiting and training volunteers from its employees. Once staff have been trained Guinness will extend the opportunity to their customers.
Guinness is the first housing association and care provider to partner with Friends Against Scams. Friends Against Scams is working with other partners including NatWest, Neighbourhood Watch and Age UK.
A scam is defined as a crime where someone tries to trick a victim into giving them money or personal information either through the post, on the phone, online or even on their own doorstep.
Unfortunately, scam artists tend to prey on vulnerable adults, with statistics showing that 53 per cent of people aged 65+ have been targeted, with the average age of those falling victim to scams being 75. Guinness Care have a duty of care to help prevent and identify scams, and protect our customers, now more than ever. 95 per cent of victims feel too embarrassed to speak up and report these crimes so Guinness wants to empower customers and staff to take a stand against scams.
Louise Baxter, Team Manager, National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “The tactics used by criminals often leaves victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. Scams affect millions of people across the UK and cost consumers an estimated £5-10 billion of detriment each year. Scams are a pervasive, criminal threat, which in addition to the financial damage can also cause detrimental, long-term psychological effects and ultimately destroy lives.”
To help drive the campaign, Guinness Care has appointed SCAMbassadors who will play a vital role in spreading awareness about the impact scams have on our society.
Mitch Williams, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at Guinness Care, said: “I thought I knew all about scams, but the number of people being scammed compared to the number of people reporting it really shocked me. Scammers are criminals using very sophisticated techniques, so no one should feel too embarrassed to seek help. The Friends Against Scams training left me feeling impassioned to take a stand.
As a SCAMbassador I stand with Guinness Care and pledge to continue to raise awareness of the campaign both within Guinness and to every organisation I work with. It’s more important than ever to protect our customers, ourselves and each other.”
David Rice, Business Development Director at Guinness Care, said: “A few years ago, my parents were scammed, and I was horrified to see the impact this had on them on so many different levels. It was bad enough that someone had persuaded them out of money, but it was worse to see how the incident affected their confidence. Our partnership with Friends Against Scams is a positive step to combatting scammers and helping to make our communities safer.”
During the coronavirus pandemic people are warned to be particularly aware of people offering or selling the following:
- Virus testing kits – these are only offered by the NHS.
- Vaccines or miracle cures
- Overpriced or fake goods to protect yourself from coronavirus such as anti-bacterial products.
- Shopping or medication collection services.
- Home decontamination services.