According to research by Citizens Advice, fraudsters cost UK consumers an estimated £10 billion a year, with the average person losing £2,500 to the various scams. Adding to the problem is the extremely low reporting rate of around 8%. Unfortunately, many people are simply too embarrassed to talk about falling victim to a scam, or may not realise that they have been scammed.
The SAFER Project at West Yorkshire Trading Standards has been working to tackle this problem since 2012, launching a county-wide approach in 2015, thanks to funding from the BIG Lottery. The SAFER Project is a community protection and empowerment programme that aims to enable older people (55+) to spot and report scams by giving them the tools & knowledge needed to protect themselves.
In the last two years the project has recorded 12,209 attendees across West Yorkshire at awareness workshops at community groups and events and provided in-depth training to 2,320 frontline workers and volunteers on the tactics and warning signs around scams and frauds.
The project has been very successful with 98% of attendees reporting an increased awareness of scams and doorstep crime as a result of the sessions. In addition, 98% of older people indicated that they felt safer in their homes and more confident at dealing with doorstep callers thanks to the SAFER team.
As the project enters the final year of current funding, the team are already busy making arrangements to ensure they exceed the overall target reach of 18,000 as well as secure further funding to continue their good work beyond 2017.

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