Isle of Wight Against Scams Partnership (IWASP) – of which the council’s Trading Standards team is a lead partner – are calling on businesses, large or small, to join IWASP and help keep residents safe from scams.
More than 20 organisations have already signed up to the partnership, with the aim of making the Isle of Wight a scam-free county. Partners, including Police, Age Friendly Island, Citizens Advice Bureau, Southern Housing and Nationwide Bank, have already pledged to work together to raise awareness of scams and to support victims of scams.
Councillor Tig Outlaw, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said:
“I am calling on businesses and organisations, large or small, to join us in the fight against scams. The effects on scam victims cannot be underestimated. Vulnerable members of our community are left financially and emotionally scarred by scams, leading to further isolation and mental health problems, due to the perceived stigma of ‘falling’ for a scam.
“The reality is that anyone can be a scam victim, regardless of age, gender, education or economic background; but on the Island we have an older population that we need to protect the best we can, as a community, by increasing the awareness of how to spot a scam and share that knowledge with customers, business partners, friends and neighbours. We need the message sent, loud and clear, that scammers and rogue callers are not welcome here and we will take action.”
Research by Action Fraud show that 3.2 million people fall victim to scams each year, an astonishing one in 15 of us. According to Action Fraud, 53% of people aged 65 or over have been targeted by scams and criminals. The Island community has 16.5% of households occupied by one person aged 65 and over and they can be specifically targeted due to several reasons, from isolation to frailty, disability or cognitive impairment, such as dementia, which can make them particularly vulnerable to scams.
By signing up to the IWASP charter, partners pledge to four key aims:
1. Improve awareness of scams;
2. Increase prevention and protection for everyone, and especially vulnerable people, against scams;
3. Implement consistent recording of scams and improve referral processes; and
4. Improve support for potential victims of scams.
In return, members will receive training, access to IWASP support, free information booklets and guides and up-to-date alerts on current scams.