As part of this year’s Scams Awareness Fortnight, Citizens Advice and the Consumer Empowerment Alliance (CEA) are releasing a series of short videos, presented by consumer protection experts, and designed to educate people about the risks of scams.
With recent figures indicating a surge in scams during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Tea break with the experts’ videos serve as a timely reminder about the dangers of scams – and provide valuable advice on how consumers can protect themselves and their loved ones against the fraudsters.
Melanie McGinn, Consumer Education Development Consultant at Citizens Advice, explained: “A big focus of our consumer education content over the last couple of years has become quite scam-based, because they are so prolific. And they’ve moved away from the traditional perception of targeting ‘vulnerable consumers’ to targeting everybody now.”
According to Janice Chisholm, Chair of the CEA, scams have ramped up due in part to new working practices. “It’s become evident that scams have increased through lockdown because so many people are much more isolated,” she said. “A lot of people are working from home so they’re more susceptible to scam calls.
“There are also new scams becoming prevalent around the jobs market and property lettings, and that’s really quite frightening. So we are trying to give people some ideas about where to go for help if they do feel that they’ve been scammed, and also how to avoid it in the first place.”
While the videos are aimed at people of all ages, McGinn said there is a particular emphasis on warning younger people about online dangers. “Sometimes when younger people buy stuff online, there’s an urgency around it, so they often don’t take as many precautions as older people who are perhaps more paranoid about things like online banking anyway. Certainly when we’ve spoken to groups of young people and gone out and delivered some teaching, there’s maybe a little bit of a feeling of invincibility as well.”
The ‘Tea break with the experts’ videos are designed to be quick and easy to digest, as McGinn explained. “Everybody’s going to have a tea or coffee break at some point in the day. And you can put these on for eight to 10 minutes while you’re having a cup of tea and find out a bit more about how to protect yourself.”
The videos are being promoted across social media, and trading standards teams are being requested to promote them via their own social media channels. The full list of videos and their social media hashtags is below.
Tuesday June 22: Scams Action Service
#scamaware #CEAspilltheteaonscams #ScamsActionService
Wednesday June 23: Jobs Aware
#scamaware #CEAspilltheteaonscams #JobsAware
Thursday June 24: ScamWise NI Partnership
Friday June 25: National Trading Standards Letting and Estate Agent Team
#scamaware #CEAspilltheteaonscams @NTSLEAT