Residents in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire have been accessing help locally to fight the scammers, thanks to a partnership set up seven months ago.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Jason Ablewhite made his comment after a new service was launched this week by Citizens Advice to help victims of online fraudsters.
Mr Ablewhite said: “Lot of agencies across our county had noticed increases in complaints from residents about an increasing number of scams – it was becoming a part of our everyday lives but it really shouldn’t be.
“We were determined to do all we could to help prevent people living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough from falling foul to these unscrupulous schemes and so seven months ago lots of agencies came together to launch the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP).
CAPASP brings together more than 20 organisations including the police, local councils, Age UK, Citizens Advice and other community groups to raise awareness about scams and support victims of scams.
“Since it was set up in December the partnership has provided scam awareness training to communities and helped to train scam awareness champions in different neighbourhoods who can then support their local residents. I am delighted that this new Citizens Advice programme will complement and build upon the work we are already doing locally to help local people become more aware and avoid becoming victims of scams in the future.”
Cllr Steve Criswell, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities and Partnership committee said: “Absolutely anyone and everyone can get involved in spreading awareness of scams to help protect others from the financial losses and the impact on health and wellbeing that these crimes cause.
“Help protect your friends, family, colleagues and wider community by joining the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership as a supporter. We provide topical information on the latest scams and free resources such as posters, leaflets, videos and training you can share with your contacts. Local people helping local people can make a real difference to everyone’s lives”.
The new Citizens Advice service came about after Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert website, sued Facebook over his name and photo being used on fake adverts.
In return for dropping the legal action, Facebook agreed to donate £3 million to set up an anti-scam programme. That money has been given to Citizens Advice to build a new service to help victims of online fraudsters.
The charity has set up a telephone helpline for any type of online scam – not just ones involving fake ads. Face-to-face consultations will even be offered to serious cases – where someone falls into debt or mortgage arrears, for example.
Citizens Advice says it expects to help 20,000 people in the first year of the new service, and warned anyone can be scammed.