Being scammed can be a humiliating and costly experience. Anyone can fall for a scam. They arrive through the post, by email, as a fax, over the telephone and on the doorstep. Most scams are, quite simply, fraud and the perpetrators are criminals.
The most common include telephone lottery scams, sweepstakes, government payouts and other mailings - all promise a large payout but of course there is a catch - the fee you pay up front.
The consequences of these scams on individuals and their families and dependants are extremely serious. Many people feel threatened and have concerns for their personal safety, it has a detrimental effect on health and well-being and the financial implications can be devastating.
How we protect people from scams
We have created and developed an innovative new project to combat the menace of scams and financial abuse.
The Financial Exploitation Safeguarding Scheme (FESS) is a multi agency initiative set up to detect and prevent the financial exploitation of vulnerable people by carers, family members, doorstep criminals, mail fraud, telephone and email scams.
The scheme underpins and brings together our current portfolio of measures to protect you from scams and promote health, wellbeing and independence.
These measures include:
- National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) Scams Hub intelligence led visits
- trueCall nuisance telephone call blocking and monitoring
- NTSB Royal Mail staff training programme
- No Cold Calling Zones
- Consumer awareness and education campaigns
- Vulnerable consumer advice interventions
- Moneywise financial education/ literacy programme
- Debt and mental health interventions
- Financial services and public /private/ third sector safeguarding protocols
- Intelligence led mapping/ forensic profiling
FESS also creates working relationships between social care services, public protection and the private sector to extend the support offered to victims and provide a multi-disciplinary response for a more comprehensive intervention.
As a Trading Standards intervention, we may supply and install a free nuisance call blocker and monitor your telephone line, intervene if you are experiencing debt and mental health issues or create a Restricted Trading Zone in your neighbourhood if you, or other vulnerable people, may be susceptible to doorstep crime.
Our Social Care colleagues may on the other hand deliver an intervention that addresses the health, psychological or behavioural impact the exploitation has had on you if you have been a victim.
Other agencies or organisations - for example debt and welfare benefit specialists - may become involved to address subsequent financial problems brought about by the exploitation.
FESS has been endorsed by Barclays and Halifax, and all their branches in Carmarthenshire are members of the scheme.
By working with the banks, we have become aware of several previously unidentified victims and prevented tens of thousands of pounds leaving customer bank accounts. We are now supporting these victims and working to ensure they are not targeted again.
If you think you, a friend or relative are being targeted by scams either by letter, phone call, computer or text messages, let us know immediately