Marilyn Baldwin OBE interviewed.

A campaign to beat con artists who fleece vulnerable people across the UK of up to £10bn a year is being launched in Kent with free sessions in County Hall, Maidstone on Monday 28 November and Monday 5 December.
Friends Against Scams aims to educate people about cons such as fake lotteries, deceptive prize draws and sweepstakes, clairvoyants and computer scams.

The campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, based in Lewes, East Sussex, is being rolled out nationwide and Kent is one of the first areas to take part. Trading standards officers are working with professionals who come into regular contact with potential victims to train as ‘SCAMchampions’, who can advise people on the tricks used by con artists and how to avoid them.

Val Prosser, a Chartered Legal Executive with the Elderly and Vulnerable Client Team at law firm Furley Page, says: “This initiative is not exclusively aimed at older and vulnerable people but unfortunately they do seem to be the most common targets.

“Some victims receive more than 100 scam letters a day from all over the world and numerous international phone calls throughout the day and night. These terrible scams can have a devastating effect on the victim’s health as well as their family.”

Friends Against Scams highlights a number of warning signs including a vulnerable person writing several cheques and purchasing a large amount of stamps; receiving a high volume of post and sending letters to companies abroad; receiving numerous phone calls from strangers and companies; and frequent visits to the Post Office or bank.

Val says: “One way concerned relatives can help a vulnerable person against being the victim of a scam is to encourage them to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney.