Friday 23 November may be Black Friday 2018, but the date is also significant – in fact, far more significant – for being the end of the week in which Friends Against Scams is celebrating its second anniversary.
Friends Against Scams was originally launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and it’s basically about empowering people by giving them the knowledge that will prevent them from becoming victims of scams and encouraging them to take a stand against scams.
I am honoured to be a Scambassador, appointed by the National Trading Standards Scams Team because of my long-standing commitment to anti-scams campaigning (if you missed Prizeology’s white paper about young people and scams you can download it here, and we have also produced a short guide on how to avoid being scammed, which you can download here), and the anti-scams message is what I take to the different communities of which I am part.
That means I talk about scams in my local community and also professionally, through the various channels open to me in the promotional marketing sector, whether it’s a talk I give to fellow prize promotions specialists or ensuring that every prize promotion I am involved in has all the features of a genuine promotion.
However, anyone can become part of the Friends Against Scams initiative – it only takes 20 minutes to join the campaign. If you go to the Friends Against Scams website you can either do an online training session or you can find a face-to-face awareness session in your area to attend. These take place all over the country, they’re free and they equip you with the information you need to understand scams, and spread the word about scam prevention and protection to your own community.
Over 100,000 new Friends Against Scams were trained in the past year, so it’s a growing movement. The target – and it’s an ambitious although I believe achievable one – is for one million friends by 2020, so I really do urge you to educate yourself and take the training. You’ll be surprised at what you learn. One statistic that always sticks in my mind is that only 5% of scam victims report the crime. That’s just not right, is it?
So why is Prizeology proud to be a Friends Against Scams partner? Because my team and I have met people who have been the victims of scams and it can be devastating. It can destroy you, not just financially, but emotionally too. Of course, it shouldn’t be like this, but even if you don’t actually lose any money, realising you’ve been duped is not a good feeling. All that makes campaigning against scams important and worthwhile.
So in the lead-up to and during the Friends Against Scams anniversary week, if you follow Prizeology on Twitter you’ll see us using the #ScamAware hashtag and drawing attention to the work of Friends Against Scams. Why don’t you join in?
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador.