Britain’s Hidden Victims

2015_10_07 Speaking at Trading Standards Fringe at Conservative Party ConferenceIn many ways, the Conservative Party Conference seems a distant memory, but some aspects of it have given me much food for though. Whilst there, I was asked to speak at the Institute of Trading Standards plenary session on Britain’s Hidden Victims and have since been reflecting on how the national picture plays out here in Suffolk.  Sadly this relates to some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Postal scams can be one of the most heart-breaking types of crime as they specifically target older and vulnerable residents.   People who respond to mail thinking they have been successful in prize draws, lotteries or other bogus competitions risk losing a significant amount of their life savings.  Sadly, we have discovered around 1,600 Suffolk residents are on a mailing list used by scammers. Officers have been contacting residents, offering support and guidance to help prevent them becoming victims.

I was horrified to learn that one such victim, recently widowed, had been paying £100 per month to scam mail companies from his personal benefit allowance. This meant he was unable to afford carer home visits, and some basic health care products necessary for a painful skin condition. Following a joint visit with officers from Adult and Community Services, the man was advised that he was the victim of a scam mail company. He immediately stopped the payments, meaning he could again pay for the care visits and products.

This type of work cannot be completed in isolation. Suffolk’s Trading Standards team have been engaging with colleagues in Health and Adult Community Care, as well as relatives of the victims to ensure that appropriate care and support is made available to them.

Suffolk Trading Standards recently hosted its first ‘Join the Fight’ Conference to raise awareness of the impact of scams; this was attended by over 100 people from 40 different partner organisations, exhibitors and speakers.  I am proud that our Join the Fight campaign really looks to try and arm Suffolk’s communities with information to help and support each other.

A month long ‘Scamnesty’ project launched in the summer with BBC Radio Suffolk; encouraged people to ‘post’ scam mail in bright yellow mail boxes placed in local libraries and CAB offices. This information was sent to the National Scams Team to help prioritise future work.

and a couple of weeks ago we held Suffolk’s latest Health and Wellbeing Conference and it was a great pleasure to speak there and once more highlight the dangers of scams and the impact they have on our most vulnerable residents.  It was another opportunity to really highlight how communities have a key role to play in supporting those most vulnerable, a point we shall go on making.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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