Action Fraud and City of London Police are launching a new ‘Urban Fraud Myths’ campaign today, which aims to debunk common misconceptions that leave people vulnerable to fraud.
For the next 13 working days, the campaign will identify common fraud myths and let people know the reality of these myths to avoid being targeted by fraudsters.
Action Fraud will be inviting people to share some of the myths that they have come across and any questions they may have about them on Twitter, using the hashtag #UrbanFraudMyths.
Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, Commander Chris Greany, who will be overseeing the campaign, said: “There are a number of misconceptions around fraud and cyber crime which often leave people vulnerable. This campaign will help to shatter these misconceptions and provide the public with a clearer picture, helping them to challenge possible urban myths and stop fraudsters in their tracks. The more information people have about the reality of fraud and cyber crime, the easier it will be to stop it from taking place”.
The most recent crime statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed over 7 million incidents of fraud and cyber crime over the last year. Victim Support figures show that fraudsters are targeting older people, with one in three victims of fraud aged 65 or over.
Lucy Hastings, Director for Victim Support, said:
“Fraud damages lives not just bank accounts and the fact that fraudsters are targeting vulnerable older people is both disturbing and despicable.
“We know that the vast majority of fraud goes unreported – largely because victims are too embarrassed to come forward, or are afraid of ridicule. We need to take away the stigma, so that victims of fraud have the confidence to report it, knowing that they are not alone and will be taken seriously.”
One such older victim was Pat Bottomley, 76, who was conned out of her £8,500 life savings in May 2015, by fraudsters posing as police over the phone.
Pat said: “The experience made me totally lose my confidence. I felt very stupid. It wasn’t about the money – it was about how I was made to feel. I didn’t want to answer the phone to anyone or go out anymore.”
Pat was supported by two trained Victim Support volunteers, who listened to how she was feeling and how the crime affected her.
To follow the Urban Fraud Myths campaign and discover more about fraud, use the hashtag #UrbanFraudMyths and follow Action Fraud and City of London Police for updates on Twitter. The Urban Fraud Myths campaign will run from 28 October-13 November 2015.
Our five top tips to protect yourself from fraud
- Always remember: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Keep your personal information safe. Never give anyone your bank pin or National Insurance number and shred or tear up any letters that include your personal details – don’t just throw them in the bin.
- Keep safe online. Change your passwords regularly and make them as complex as you can remember. Install the latest anti-virus protection on all your devices.
- If you fall victim to fraud – don’t blame yourself. For support and information, contact Victim Support by calling 0808 1689 111 or visiting victimsupport.org.uk
- Reporting fraud will help police catch these criminals. Visit actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 to log your case.