Scams bulletin 7

Yet again this week I’m reading more news that scams and fraud are on the increase during these months of lockdown and ‘different normal’. People are doing unfamiliar things (such as shopping online or using Facebook to connect more with family), and the scammers (criminals) are exploiting this.

As Neighbourhood Watch Group Coordinators or Members of groups we can all play a really active part with scamming. Firstly to make sure we’re understanding scams and looking out for them ourselves, and then to ensure we’re telling our neighbours, family and friends to be on the watch too. If you have any questions or concerns about scams, don’t forget to go on our NEL Watch Network online and join in the scam discussions.

Anyone signed up and been through the Friends Against Scams training yet? Let me know (

OurWatch just published their July e-newsletter and it’s got a few things about Scams and protecting yourself in there. Take a read here. There’s a bit in there about looking out for dodgy apps. So if you’ve been downloading games over the past few months to your mobile phone to keep yourself amused take a read – there are some fun looking apps out there which are designed to damage your phone and your bank account!

TSB has reviewed behaviours and worryingly found that almost three quarters of people are unable to identify common scams. Even more worrying is that young people are the most likely to fail to identify them. It’s worth a read of the article here. Having been warned, our important task here is to train ourselves and others better to identify these sorts of scams.

The banking industry is working better to protect customers against scams and some are working harder to reimburse people who have suffered financially as a result. But it would be far better in the first place if we could not fall for the scams in the first place.

Know any young people? Tell them about what to watch out for to avoid scams too – don’t just assume we’re talking about your elderly neighbours!

If you’re wanting something practical to share with other people, this simple, up to date “Scams Glossary” from Citizens Advice is quite useful.

Fake products: Are you shopping from home and trawling through google ads or Facebook promos? Can you tell which of those products are real and which ones are fake, fraud, dangerous?

Which have published a review about this and how easy it was for them to create a totally fake product and get it widely promoted – and even how easy it would have been to target it directly as extremely vulnerable people! Read the article here and be warned. But you can also take some practical steps. Firstly learn how to spot the fake ads in the first place, and secondly how to take a bit more control about your social media Ad settings so you’re in control of who can promote to you. Have a read of the article for these tips too.

More next week. Join us on the Network Discussion site to continue the conversations.

Karl Elliott,
Development Manager, VANEL
and development support for NEL Watch