September Scams Update

Published: 17 September 2020

Welcome to our September newsletter. We hope you’ve been enjoying a nice summer and managed to take a break or at least enjoy participating in a spot of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.  After an intense few months on Covid scams prevention, whilst also being redeployed to the County Coordination Hub, we have recently enjoyed a bit of a break ourselves here at CAPASP HQ. It's good to be back!  As for eating out, read on to find out what we’ve been doing to help local restaurants, pubs and cafes at this challenging time.  Happy reading!
Supporting Food Businesses with Test and Trace

We were recently contacted by a member of the public concerned about food businesses operating an open ‘visitors book’ that customers were invited to complete for NHS Test and Trace purposes but which allowed anyone to see the name, contact details and date and time of previous visitors to the premises.

The information collected for Test and Trace constitutes personal data under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and therefore must not be used or shared for any reason other than that for which the person consents - in this case NHS Test and Trace.  As such the information recorded should not be accessible to other customers or visitors.  Imagine the advantage a fraudster would have if they knew that Bob Zurunkle was at the Queens Arms on 6th September and can be contacted on 01234 567890!

In order address this issue we collaborated with the Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Councils, Dr Liz Robin, to include advice on scams and GDPR compliance in a letter she was preparing for all registered food businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  We were able to recommend that businesses download a unique QR code for their premises which customers could use to check-in for their visit, satisfying Test and Trace and GDPR requirements whilst allowing them to focus fully on their business at this challenging time.

Scam Marshals Explained
A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams.  Scam Marshals do this in a number of ways including by sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team (FREEPOST) so that it can be used as evidence in investigative and enforcement work.  Scam Marshals effectively become part of the team stopping scams.

Many Scam Marshals report an improvement in their wellbeing after becoming involved in the scheme.  For example 94% of Scam Marshals believe that being a Scam Marshal has stopped them from being scammed again and 89% of Scam Marshals report that the amount of scam mail that they receive has reduced since they joined the scheme.

Scam Marshals joining the scheme receive:
  • A certificate confirming their role as an NTS Scams Team Scam Marshal.
  • A monthly newsletter with highlights about what the NTS Scams Team has done with the mail they have sent in.
  • Freepost mail bags to send their scam mail to the NTS Scams Team at no cost to them.
  • The opportunity to become a NTS Scams Team ‘Pen Pal’, a pen pal project just for Scam Marshals!
If you know anyone who you think might benefit from becoming a Scam Marshal please share the Scam Marshal pack with them or get in touch with us today!
Free Loan Sharks Training
Our friends at England Illegal Money Lending Team are offering free training sessions throughout September and October.  The sessions are ‘Can You Spot A Loan Shark?’ and ‘Changing Lives - The Journey of a Loan Shark Victim’.

‘Can You Spot A Loan Shark?’ training provides information and knowledge about illegal money lending, how it relates to you and how the Illegal Money Lending Team can help those who have borrowed from illegal lenders.  It includes key signs to look out for that a friend, client or colleague may be involved with a loan shark.  The session will show the impact that illegal lenders have on victims and communities and how we can work together to stop people falling into the clutches of criminals.

‘Can You Spot A Loan Shark?’ is offered on the following dates (click on the links to book your place):
Wednesday 23rd Sept, 2.00pm
Friday 25th Sept, 10.00am
Tuesday 29th Sept, 11.30am
Thursday 1st Oct, 10.00am
Thursday 8th Oct, 11.30
Wednesday 28th Oct, 2.00pm

‘Changing Lives – The Journey of a Loan Shark Victim’ is an additional learning tool for those that already know the basic facts about loan sharks and have previously attended ‘Can You Spot a Loan Shark?’ (either in person or online).  Learn about the implications and facts around reporting or not reporting for your business and staff; learn about victim safety, data protection issues and how to help victims open up about their situation.

Changing Lives – The Journey of a Loan Shark Victim is offered on the following dates:
Tuesday 6th Oct, 10.00am
Monday 12th Oct, 11.00am
Thursday 15th Oct, 10.30am
Tuesday 20th Oct, 2.00pm
Thursday 22nd Oct, 2.00pm
Monday 26th Oct, 11.30am

Do take advantage of this brilliant opportunity - and feel free to let us know how you got on!

'Zoom' in for some Friends Against Scams training
With scams and fraud on the increase at the moment, our CAPASP partners at NatWest are as committed as ever to getting the Friends Against Scams message out to as many people as possible.

Before the coronavirus pandemic NatWest Community Bankers were able to come and visit you in your community groups and deliver this training in person but unfortunately that isn’t possible at the moment.  But what they are doing is offering the presentation virtually!

So, if your group is meeting via Zoom and would like a FREE speaker to run a Friends Against Scams session please get in contact with Bernadette (Cambridgeshire) or Mohommad (Peterborough) using the details below (click for email).

Bernadette Merry Tel: 07711 763322

Mohommad Chauhan Tel: 07879 110314

Looking for funding? Start your search with Support Cambridgeshire!
Support Cambridgeshire, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, brings together three partner organisations who work together to support community groups and organisations across Cambridgeshire: Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations, Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service and Cambridgeshire ACRE.

The Support Cambridgeshire website contains a repository of Funding Alerts, organised by theme, which you can view here.  It's a great place to start if you want a quick overview of the funds that are relevant to your organisation and project.

SupportCambridgeshire 4 Communities is a free self-service portal which enables voluntary and community organisations to browse, search and apply for grants to support their work.  The portal is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.  Community organisations are encouraged to register, visit and use the site as much as possible.  Why not take a look, you never know there could be a nice little pot you can access to bring your community project to life!

If it's not funding but expert advice and guidance you're looking for then drop Support Cambridgeshire an email at

New Supporters
We are thrilled to welcome Steve Harknett, Jessica Kennedy and Safe Soulmates as new partnership supporters this month.  Steve and Jessica are both Community Connectors at Peterborough City Council and Safe Soulmates support adults with additional needs to find friendship and romantic love in a safe way, free from abuse.  We're delighted to have Steve, Jessica and Safe Soulmates on our side - helping to raise scams awareness among the communities they work with, thereby protecting them from the harm that scams bring.

Student Safety Advice Online
Our partners Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Fenland Community Safety Partnership worked together again to provide valuable cyber security advice for students returning to college and university this autumn.  You can watch Nigel and Rosie delivering this fantastic advice on YouTube
TV Licensing Scams
Free TV Licences for all over 75s in the UK, funded by the Government, came to an end this year.  From 1st August 2020, anyone aged 75 or over who is not in receipt of Pension Credit (a benefit available to pensioners on low incomes) needs to pay for their TV Licence.

These changes have presented scammers with an opportunity to target those affected by them.  TV Licensing have put together lots of advice on spotting TV Licensing scams and how to report them on their website .

Slip Into Slippers on 2nd October
October 2nd 2020 marks this year’s ‘Slip Into Slippers’ day and Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, one of our fabulous CAPASP partners are inviting you to join the campaign.
It’s easy to take part –
  1. just wear your slippers
  2. if possible, take a photo and post it on social media using #slipintoslippers
  3. and donate. The easiest way is by TEXT: Text SLIPPERS X to 70470 (replacing X with any number from 1 to 20 according to the amount, in GBP, you wish to donate e.g. SLIPPERS 5, to donate £5). Texts cost the sum donated plus one standard rate message. Alternatively see ways to donate for other methods to make a donation.

With many of us working from home it’s never been easier to show us your slippers!  Hold your virtual meetings represented by slippers, decorate them, tell a story with them, play peekaboo with them!  Let your imagination lead you in FUNdraising.

Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are an independent charity who must raise all their own funds to deliver local services to older people living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are not the same charity as the national Age UK charity, only a brand partner.

Short Story Competition
As part of National Stop Loan Sharks Week this year (1st-7th December) the England Illegal Money Lending Team are running a short story or poem competition.  There are 7 categories and the winner of each category will have their story turned into a podcast for Stop Loan Sharks week.

The competition is open to everyone so any budding writers are invited to contact us for more information about the brief.  The closing date is 16th October.

Date for the diary
19th - 23rd October 2020 marks Friends Against Scams week to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Friends Against Scams initiative being launched.

On Wednesday 21st October, the Friends Against Scams team would like as many people as possible to complete the online awareness session and help to protect loved ones.  We will be making a social media pack available to you next month to get involved.  Keep a look out on our website and social media.

Join in. Spread the word. Protect others.