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Agencies from across Norfolk have come together to warn residents to be extra vigilant of new and existing scams during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A three-week campaign is being headed up by the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, with a membership comprising Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards, Norfolk Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCCN), voluntary agencies, businesses and residents.
Lorne Green, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, said: “Fraud affects thousands of people across Norfolk every year. Last year, more than 6,500 frauds were reported in the county, but with scammers seeking to exploit people’s increased isolation and vulnerability during the Coronavirus pandemic, we could see that figure increase significantly this year.
“Most often it is the vulnerable in our society who are targeted and exploited by scammers but, particularly at this time, anyone could be a victim.”
County Council Cabinet Member, Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, the chair of Norfolk Against Scams Partnership said: “The partnership’s aim is to make Norfolk a scam-free county.
“Being scammed or targeted by fraud can have a devastating impact on vulnerable people and small businesses. We hope this social media campaign will not only go some way towards helping and supporting people who have been affected by scams but also towards preventing the increase in this type of fraud.”
There will be a different focus on partners’ social media platforms each week, using the hashtag #NorfolkScamAware:
- Trusted information– to guide the public to useful information and support agencies.
- Protect– to give advice on how people can better equip themselves to identify the signs of scamming.
- Watch Out – to make victims aware of the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service and the new scams that have emerged due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rik Martin, Operations Manager at Community Action Norfolk, said: “There is lots of help and advice available but it’s not always easy for people who may feel embarrassed that they have been the victim of a scam. We are urging residents to feel comfortable reaching out and to sign up for scam alerts, so that they feel more informed and confident when confronted with something that could potentially defraud them.”
If you’ve been affected by a scam, you can get help and support from the Norfolk Scams Prevention Service.
In 2019/20, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk joined forces with Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care to pilot the Norfolk Scams Prevention Service. Over the course of nine months, that service provided free, confidential support to 732 scams victims, helping them to become more scam aware and reduce their vulnerability to falling victim again.
Supported by the agencies which make up the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, the Scams Prevention Service has also been helping to raise awareness of scams countywide through training sessions for organisations and individuals across Norfolk.
To contact the Norfolk Scams Prevention Service, telephone 101 followed by extension 5483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.