As part of Safeguarding Week 2020, North Yorkshire Police Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, Andy Fox, shares his thoughts:

Protecting people from becoming victims of fraud and supporting those who have been targeted by fraudsters is something we work hard to do all year round but this year’s Safeguarding Week couldn’t have fallen at a more appropriate time.

Since March 2020, the country and the way in which we live have both changed significantly. With the vast majority of us still in lockdown – this has had a huge effect on mental health and wellbeing, but has also made the most vulnerable people even more vulnerable. The elderly, those with underlying health conditions, those who were already isolated and those who live alone. Unfortunately, criminals have taken advantage of this and continue to target these most vulnerable individuals with all sorts of scams.

Anyone can be a victim of fraud, regardless of their age, demographic or circumstances but there are certain people who are most vulnerable to becoming victims and lockdown has only increased this vulnerability. Safeguarding those individuals from fraud is everyone’s business and the responsibility is on all of us – professionals, organisations, friends, families and communities.

Why is safeguarding everyone’s business?

It has often been said we all live busier lives and as a result we may be less aware of those in our local community who need extra support. During this pandemic crisis we have seen community heroes emerge, whether it be through fundraising activities, volunteering or doing the shopping for people less able than ourselves.

Lockdown may have made it harder to spot the signs of someone who is being abused by their partner or someone who could be suffering with their mental health but this doesn’t mean we can’t help. Safeguarding of the vulnerable is not just the role of the professionals, it is the responsibility of the community and we should all be vigilant for signs of someone who may be in need of support or advice.

What to do if you suspect someone is being targeted by fraudsters?

Quite often victims of fraud do not report the matter to the police for two main reasons:

  • They are not aware they are a victim
  • They are too embarrassed to report it.

If you suspect that someone is a victim of fraud, highlight your concerns to that person explaining why. Ensure they do not send any further money without speaking to the police. You can also refer them to one of the many sites offering advice such as Action Fraud or Friends Against Scams. Download The Little Book of Big Scams here

Report any concerns to the police by calling 101.

If you have been a victim of crime or you know someone who has, and you don’t want to report it to the police you can still receive support from skilled Victim Care Co-ordinators, through contacting Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on: 01609 643100 or by email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/support4victims

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SupportingVictims  

Web: www.supportingvictims.org

Find out more about Safeguarding Week 2020