Trading Standards launches Young Friends Against Scams to stop children falling victim to fraudsters

Identity theft committed against under-21s is on the rise at a time when more young people than ever before are falling victim to scams – that is why Trading Standards have today (September 12) launched the Young Friends Against Scams resource to help organisations inform children as young as eight.

The free resource has been launched by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards to safeguard young people from crooks.

Young Friends Against Scams has been specifically created to help leaders of youth organisations, such as scout groups, youth groups, schools and colleges to inform and educate young people on how to recognise and avoid scams.

Designed in conjunction with the National Friends Against Scams Team and other local authorities including Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Norfolk, the pack is aimed at young people aged eight and above, and incorporates advice and information on the types of scams to watch out for with activities and games to make it a fun learning experience

Many young people think they won’t be targeted by scammers and that their familiarity with social media and the internet means they are less at risk.

Janet Rudd, Team Manager Business Support and Innovation from Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service said: “No one is immune from scams regardless of age and background.

“This great resource has been designed particularly with young people in mind and provides youth group leaders with everything they need to help raise awareness of the different types of scams that are out there, and ways young people can protect themselves from becoming a victim.”

Young Friends Against Scams

Those behind the resource say: “It is never too early to educate people about scams and by doing it an informal and engaging way, they will have the tools to help to educate older relatives who may be targeted.

“There is evidence that the more experienced an individual is on social media, the more complacent and therefore vulnerable they can be.

“For instance, the fraud protection service Cifas recorded a 30 per cent increase in identity theft cases affecting under 21s between 2016 and 2017.

“And younger people are especially likely to fall victim to online scams such as fake websites, which are used to persuade people to provide personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers and pin codes.”

Other common scams targeting young people, they say, include subscription traps, social media, gaming, ticketing and job/rent scams.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards said: “Unfortunately scams are a reality that we all need to be aware of. Scams are becoming more sophisticated and criminals are increasingly targeting young people, taking advantage of their knowledge and use of social media and technology.

“By learning how to protect themselves young people will be increasing awareness of the problem and be able to help protect older relatives who may be targeted.”

Youth group leaders can access the resource here.

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