West Yorkshire’s PCC joins fight against criminal scammers (8 Jan 2018)

Mark Burns-Williamson joins national campaign to prevent vulnerable people falling victim to scams

Mr Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire has joined the Friends Against Scams campaign, an initiative that aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to 'Take a Stand Against Scams'.

As a SCAMbassador, Mr Burns-Williamson has joined the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and others to protect everyone from scams and the damage they cause. He will be able to work with members of the community in and at a national level to educate and support those who may be vulnerable to scams.

Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.

Mr Burns-Willamson said: "Scams often target the most vulnerable people in society but the reality is that anyone can become a victim of scams.

"Scams damage lives and can affect people financially and emotionally so it is with great pride that I have joined the work of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and others who are working together to prevent people from being victims of scams. By signing up as a SCAMbassador I pledge to help make West Yorkshire a scam-free constituency.

"The awful consequences of targeting people for financial exploitation and crime is all too clear and it's particularly important that we protect and support those that are most vulnerable.

"That is why I also part fund The West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team, which is made up of co-located specialists from West Yorkshire Police, adult social care and Trading Standards, who investigate financial exploitation and abuse of vulnerable and older victims. This team protects people from these heartless criminals, helps to bring the perpetrators to justice, fully supports victims and reduces repeat victimisation."

Scams affect millions of people across the UK and cost consumers an estimated £5-10 billion of detriment of each year. Scams are a pervasive, criminal threat, which in addition to the financial damage can also cause serious detrimental, long-term psychological effects and ultimately destroy lives.

Louise Baxter, Team Manager, National Trading Standards Scams Team said: "The tactics used by scammers leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what's really going on behind closed doors.

"It is fantastic to have such an influential figure in the community to help us tackle this problem on a local, regional and national level and I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our growing SCAMbassador network."

Linda Davis, Head of the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), said: "Having Mark Burns-Williamson as a SCAMbassador will help to raise awareness of the effects that scams have on those who have been exploited. The WYFEAT team continues to support victims in order to prevent further money being lost to scams and to educate communities of how to Spot and Stop scams."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018