A month-long awareness raising campaign against scams has been launched by the Isle of Wight Council.
The Isle of Wight Against Scams Partnership (IWASP), of which the council is a lead partner, is launching IWASP awareness month for September and aims to put the spotlight on advice and guidance against scams and doorstep crime, as well as encouraging businesses and organisations to join the partnership.
Approximately 3.2 million people in the UK fall victim to scams each year, with the cost to the UK economy being between £5 -10 billion each year. It is estimated that only 5 per cent of these crimes are ever reported.
The awareness month will be supported by regular news stories on the council website as well as a social media campaign over the council’s social media pages to help people spot scams, understand more about how it impacts victims and give advice on how to protect themselves and their neighbours.
“We want to send out a strong message that there is zero tolerance to scams on the Island and want to inform residents, businesses and organisations on how to spot, report and protect against scams,” said Cabinet member for community safety and public protection, Councillor Tig Outlaw.
“Scams are nothing new to the Island, largely down to unscrupulous individuals and businesses taking advantage of our older population here. However, anyone can be a victim of a scam due to the increasingly sophisticated techniques they use to encourage us to part with our money.”
Councillor Outlaw said: “IWASP would like to encourage anyone who has been a victim of scams to come forward and let us know so that we can build a really strong community network to let scammers know they are not welcome.
“This includes doorstep crime and if anyone has any information concerning people calling on residents and attempting to sell goods or services such as tree work, roof repairs, jet washing drives, checking drains etc, can they please contact the Trading Standards Service or the Police. If we have enough evidence of a crime we will prosecute. The awareness month re-iterates that we want those who are victims of scams to feel confident to contact us because we’ll take your reports seriously, protect you, and make sure you get all the support you need.”
IWASP aims to provide a united front against scams and make the Isle of Wight a hostile county to scammers.
The scheme involves the council’s trading standards team working with organisations both voluntary and statutory across the Island to provide more sources of support, help and advice.
More information on IWASP and how to report scams and doorstep crime can be found at: www.iwasp.org.uk
Photo by Jamie Street