This briefing provides information about this year’s campaign and how you can get involved, as well as offering support, useful information and contact details to help make this year’s campaign a success.
You can find more materials to help you campaign in your communities on our resources page.
What is Scams Awareness Fortnight and when is it taking place?
Scams Awareness Fortnight is an annual campaign run by Citizens Advice with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP). It’s all about creating a network of confident, #ScamAware consumers who are able to recognise a scam, take the right action when dealing with a scam and talk about their experiences to raise awareness and help others.
This year’s campaign will focus on scams and the cost-of-living crisis. With many people facing increased financial pressures, there is a high chance that scammers will take advantage of this, so it is of vital importance to equip consumers. Scams Awareness Fortnight will be running from Monday 13 June - Sunday 26 June 2022.
Why campaign on scams?
Spam emails, ‘suspicious activity’ alerts from your bank, news stories about data breaches – unfortunately, scams and fraud seem to have become part of our daily lives. They can and do affect anyone and can cause a lot of harm.
Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggest there were 5.1 million fraud offences in the year ending Sept 2021. Additionally, Citizens Advice found in the first 5 months of 2021 more than two thirds of adults (36 million) had been targeted by a scam.
Scams and the cost of living
We’ve seen time and again that scammers seek to exploit vulnerability - from the coronavirus pandemic to recessions, times of difficulty often see a corresponding increase in related scams. From what we’ve seen so far, the cost-of-living crisis seems to be no different.
The increased financial pressures many are facing has put more people into difficult situations, facing issues such as debt or not being able to afford essential goods and services. Scammers are likely to exploit these, so empowering the public to protect themselves and others from scams will have heightened importance.
There are lots of different types of scams emerging. Some examples to look out for include:
Scammers pretending to be energy companies, luring people with “too good to be true” deals in order to steal their money
Fake sales representatives selling counterfeit shopping vouchers
Fraudsters sending out phishing emails pretending to offer an energy rebate or government support to obtain people’s personal information
With the cost-of-living crisis unfolding, consumers need to remain alert and protect themselves from these and other scams.
What are the aims of the campaign?
Through the campaign we want to achieve a few things:
Equip consumers with the knowledge and skills they need to recognise scams
Scams come in many forms and are increasingly complex and sophisticated. We want to give people the knowledge they need to recognise scams, so they can protect themselves and those around them.
Empower people to take action by getting advice and reporting scams
If someone thinks they’ve been scammed, there are steps they can take to protect themselves from things getting worse. If they take action immediately, they might even be able to recover some of the money they lost. It can also give people a feeling of control.
However, it’s not always clear what to do and who to report to. We need to make it simple and easy for people to understand the steps they should take - and make sure they have the confidence to do so.
- Encourage people to talk about their experiences and help others
Many victims falling for a scam are overwhelmed by a sense of shame, which can lead to under-reporting. We want to encourage people to talk openly about their experiences, emphasising the responsibility to inform and help others. This way we can help break down the stigma around scams and raise awareness of the problem.
How to get involved
There are lots of ways you can take part in this year’s scams awareness campaign. We’ve pulled together a page of suggested activities. No matter how much time you have to spend raising awareness - whether that’s 2 minutes or 2 weeks - there’s an option for you.
It’s worth talking to potential partners, such as Trading Standards, police and crime commissioners’ offices, and local authorities about the evidence of scams locally and how best to prioritise activities.
Good partnership work with local organisations and community groups in your area will be central to a successful campaign and ongoing scam-fighting activities throughout the year.
This year we've created a key messages and advice guide [ 78 kb]. This can be used to help inform your campaign work, for example if you’re doing a radio interview or want to write your own content.
The guide includes some facts about scams and tips on how people can spot a scam and protect themselves against them, along with advice on what to do if someone has been scammed. There's also information on where people can go if they need more help.
Get in touch
Whatever you do for Scams Awareness Fortnight 2022, please let us know about it, so we can highlight your efforts.
You can sign up to our mailing list to indicate your involvement as well as receive updates about the campaign including when resources will be available online.
If you are tweeting remember to use #ScamAware. You can also email us pictures and updates about your events directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are part of the Citizens Advice service you can let us know about your activities by sending a Local Action Reporting Form.
For any queries about this resource or the Scams Awareness campaign please contact email@example.com.
Useful links and resources
There are lots of other resources, content and advice that you can use to help you campaign, some of which are listed below. You can also take a look at our Partner Hub, where we’re signposting people to resources, training and materials from partners and other relevant organisations.
Resources to help teach consumers about scams
Citizens Advice scams advice pages. Citizens Advice offers free advice and helps people to find a way forward. You can also contact the consumer service for free consumer advice, including advice on scams at 0808 223 1133 (or 0808 223 1144 to contact a Welsh-speaking adviser).
Friends Against Scams. Run by the National Trading Standards scams team, the campaign aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities and businesses to ’Take a Stand Against Scams’.
The Pensions Regulator has handy downloads for consumers to help them spot pension scams.
The Money Advice Service offers free and impartial money advice, including advice about scams.
The Financial Conduct Authority has a register of authorised financial firms at www.fca.org.uk/register and a list of firms which have been implicated in scams. The FCA website also has advice to help investors avoid falling victim to scammers and a Scam Smart game showing examples of investment scams.
Get Safe Online are an organisation aimed at informing consumers to protect themselves from online scams with factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety.
www.cyberaware.gov.uk is a website launched by the government aimed at helping the public and small businesses to spot and avoid fraud, by raising awareness and promoting digital security for online users.
Led by UK Finance and backed by the government, Take Five is a national awareness campaign providing advice and tips for consumers on how to protect themselves from financial fraud.
Help for people who have been scammed
Think Jessica is a charity that raises awareness of scams that target elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes, including by telephone, the postal system and on the doorstep.
Victim Support gives free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales. Call 0808 1689 111.
Age UK has local branches around the UK providing help and support for older people. Call the national line for free on 0800 678 1602.