I can’t get Take That’s ‘A Million Love Songs Later’ out of my head. That’s because I’ve been thinking about the new One Million Friends Against Scams initiative. OK, the campaign name isn’t an exact steal from the great Gary Barlow and making it fit the tune is a bit of a stretch, but the number is the same – and it’s a big one.
So here’s the low-down on One Million Friends Against Scams. By 2020 it’s going to train a million people to spot and report scams. That’s a lot, although since it was launched last year umbrella body Friends Against Scams has already trained more than 30,000 people, which is obviously a good start, but there’s a way to go, which is where you all come in.
To join the One Million Friends Against Scams campaign you can do one of three things. You can complete a short awareness training session in person or online. You can become a SCAMchampion by hosting awareness sessions to recruit friends and promote the inititive in your community or workplace. Or you can sign your company or organisation up as a Friends Against Scams organisation. Actually, you can do all three, which might make quite a big dent in the target and be really helpful.
As you probably know, scams – including prize draw scams, which are a particular concern of mine – affect the lives of millions of people across the UK and scammers often, although not always, target the most vulnerable members of society. What’s more, the National Trading Standards Scams Team estimates that the cost to consumers as a result of scams is between £5 and £10 billion a year.
Something else that’s lodged in my brain recently are the words of Ben Wallace, who’s the government’s minister for security and economic crime. As a poet, he’s not a patch on GB, but he was dead right when he said, “We know that the more we talk to each other about scams, the less likely we are to fall victim to them.”
One Million Friends Against Scams aims to keep that conversation going by providing practical advice on how to stay safe from fraudsters, so that we can all prevent our families, neighbours, anyone we know and indeed ourselves from becoming scam victims. So let’s do it. Let’s get out there and raise awareness!
I wanted to finish with a meaningful Gary quote, but when I revisited the lyrics to ‘A Million Love Songs Later’ I realised they contained absolutely nothing I could use. In fact, they make very little sense at all, so all I can say is that One Million Friends Against Scams is a really worthwhile campaign and you should get involved.
Prizeology specialises in prize draws – the honest, fair and well-run kind – as well as all other types of prize promotions. If that’s something we can help you with, do get in touch.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a SCAMbassador for the National Trading Standards Scams Team. In the photo she’s with Louise Baxter MBE, of the National Trading Standards Scams Team at the launch of One Millions Friends Against Scams.