The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team has recently relaunched its Scam Marshal scheme. A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by using their own experience to talk to others about scams in their community and by sending any scam mail that they receive to NTS Scams Team (Freepost). Their mail may be utilised as evidence in future investigations and enforcement work by the team. Scam Marshals play a huge role in helping to stop mail altogether.
Once signed up to the scheme, the new Scam Marshal will receive a certificate confirming their role in the NTS Scams Team, freepost mail bags so that they can send any scam mail that they receive into the team for investigation, a Scam Marshal guide and a monthly newsletter. The monthly newsletter aims to educate the Scam Marshal on all types of scams, Mail, Phone, email and doorstep. The scheme aims to reduce the stigma and the shame that can surround these types of crimes by raising awareness and talking about them.
The scheme has gained some momentum in recent months with a couple of television slots. In September the NTS Scams Team featured on BBC’s ‘Rip off Britain’ with one of the Scam Marshals, Sigrid talking about her experience and what she’s doing to help prevent others from falling victim to any types of scams. The Team manager, Louise Baxter also featured on the program talking about scams and helping to raise awareness. The NTS Scams Team also appeared on BBC’s ‘The Defenders’ in December. Along with the television shows, the Scam Marshal scheme has featured on various national and local radio stations and has had 3 articles in the Daily Mail helping to recruit new Scam Marshals.
The team have now recruited over 350 new Scam Marshals and is aiming for 1200 by the end of March 2019. They are doing this by working with over 170 Local Authorities Trading Standards teams who conduct scam related visits in their area, assessing whether the person that they are visiting would be suitable for the scheme. The NTS Scams Team also work with key partners and organisations such as Age UK, Citizens Advice, Think Jessica and NatWest to help sign up new Scam Marshals.
The scheme has a positive effect on the Scam Marshals with most seeing a reduction in the scam mail that they receive, this is due to the fact that they are learning more about scams through the newsletters and therefore not responding to the criminals thus ending the cycle of victimisation. The Scam Marshals feel empowered that they are doing something about the mail that they are receiving, they are reporting it and stopping other people getting scammed out of their hard earned money. They are also talking to their friends, family and neighbours. This plays its part in combatting loneliness which is at the forefront of government agenda. The NTS Scams team has also just launched its Scam Marshal Pen Pal scheme where Scam Marshals sign up and write letters to each other, sharing their own experiences on both scams and life.
If you know someone that has been effected by scams or you feel is being targeted by scams, then please contact the NTS Scams team on 01323 464444, email FriendsAgainstScams@surreycc.gov.uk or visit the website www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and follow the links to Scam Marshals where you can sign up either yourself or someone else using the online form.
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