In 2016/17 more than 100 doorstep crimes were reported in Buckinghamshire.
Most of the crimes targeted older and more vulnerable people, with the highest value being a £20,000 roofing fraud in Gerrards Cross.
However the figure could be much higher, as it’s believed that only around 10% of cases are actually reported.
There is a much higher cost though in terms of the distress caused to vulnerable people who just do not know where to turn for help.
July 2017 is National Scams Awareness Month and Noel Brown, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement is launching a training programme for Scams Champions – residents who are willing to look out for their vulnerable neighbours, know the early signs of exploitation and alert the authorities.
Scams Champions are trained to provide information and awareness raising sessions about doorstep crime, postal and telephone scams to community and business groups, schools and other agencies. This helps them to spot the signs that someone is being scammed and know how to report any suspicions that someone they know is in thrall to scammers.
Already Trading Standards have signed up five Scams Champion volunteers. One of them, Tom Dent, has already done the training.
Tom, who is currently helping Trading Standards in the south of the County to protect a number of scam victims who have collectively lost over £1,000,000, said: ‘It’s a real eye-opener on the devious ways of doorstep criminals, and really does prepare you to identify the early tell-tale signs.‘
Noel said Buckinghamshire needed Scams Champions to help protect vulnerable people and make a big dent in the estimated £4,000,000 a year they are being scammed out of.
‘This isn’t just about saving money. Where Trading Standards officers can intervene early, it can reduce the distress victims often feel‘ said Noel. ‘Last year, our officers managed to save them well over £255,000 (£200,000 scams and £55 doorstep crime), but you can’t put a price on feeling safe in your in your own home – and this is where the Scam Champions can really help.‘
So far the ‘Scam Champion’ training sessions have been scheduled as follows :
- Thursday 27th July 2017 from 1.00pm to 4.00pm at Beaconsfield Fire Station.
- Thursday 10th August 2017 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Haddenham Fire Station.
- Tuesday 5th September 2017 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Gerrards Cross Fire Station.
- Tuesday 10th October 2017 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Haddenham Fire Station.