Major New Government Campaign Encourages The Public to Stop! Think Fraud

Over half of Black people who have experienced fraud report having struggled with their mental health Financial advisor and media personality Emmanuel Asuquo gets behind the initiative
 
Data shows that fraud accounts for approximately 38% of all crime in England and Wales, with an estimated 1 in 17 adults being a victim of fraud in the year ending September 2023. It is within this context that the Government launched ‘Stop! Think Fraud’ – the new national campaign against fraud which urges everyone to stop and think about whether something could be fraud before taking action.  

Emmanuel Asuquo

Supported by renowned financial advisor, media personality and author Emmanuel Asuquo, the Stop! Think Fraud campaign coincides with the release of new data which reveals the hidden cost of fraud, as victims report serious mental health struggles after being targeted by criminals.

More than 2,000 UK fraud victims were interviewed in the survey, which showed that over half (56%) of Black victims had struggled with their mental health in the months that followed their experience of fraud. Many Black fraud victims, (59%), reported increased anxiety and 48% experienced low-self-confidence and self-esteem. Furthermore, 39% said they had experienced feelings of depression.

Experiencing fraud also impacted the sleep of most Black fraud victims (75%), with close to a third (31%) saying it had a significant impact. Whilst victims of fraud should never feel at fault, the data showed that 64% of Black fraud victims attributed this lack of sleep to blaming themselves for the incident.

As fraud continues to become more sophisticated and harder to spot, the Stop! Think Fraud campaign seeks to provide consistent and clear anti-fraud advice to the public. The campaign’s new online fraud hub draws on the expertise of leading counter-fraud experts and provides concise, simple advice on how to spot fraud, stay safe and what to do if targeted – whether that is online, on the phone or in-person. It reassures people that falling victim should never have shame, stigma or fault attached to it, and signposts victims to organisations for further advice and support.

Jennie

Jennie was targeted by fraudsters last year. She received a WhatsApp message from someone claiming to be her brother, requesting that £600 was transferred to them as a matter of urgency. Jennie replied to the message to say that she didn’t have that amount in her account, but that she could check with her husband in their joint account. The responding message stated that £400 would be sufficient. She tried calling her brother on his usual number as this request for money was unusual, but the call was cancelled. Since she was unable to get hold of her brother, she didn’t transfer any funds.

Talking about her experience, Jennie says: “What this experience has taught me is that fraud can happen to anyone and that’s why, now, I’ll always take a moment to stop and check. Everything is immediate these days and we do so much on our phones, so my advice is to slow down, take your time and verify the situation before acting. For example, always check it’s the actual person or company contacting you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Financial adviser, media personality and author Emmanuel Asuquo, who is supporting the campaign, said: “The sad reality is that fraudsters constantly bombard people with fake texts, calls and scam content online. Since anyone can be a victim, I’d urge everyone to check out the new campaign website to find out how to spot fraud, and what to do if you are targeted.” 

Here are five tips from Stop! Think Fraud on how to protect yourself from fraud:

  1. Know the fraud signs: Common tactics can include impersonating an authority or ‘trusted’ voice or using language that evokes powerful emotions such as fear or hope. It’s important to know the signs so you have a greater chance of avoiding fraud.
  2. Protect yourself: While you can’t stop a criminal attempting to defraud you, you can make yourself a harder target. This can be about breaking contact by closing a text, email, or conversation. Or it could be changing your online passwords to help protect yourself online.
  3. Verify and make contact directly: Always verify requests for money or personal details, even if it seems to come from a person or organisation you know.  Contact people or companies directly through official websites, numbers, or email addresses. 
  4. Report it: If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you should always report it. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and have been defrauded, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, all reports of fraud should be reported to Police Scotland by calling 101.
  5. Don’t be afraid to seek help: If you have been affected by fraud, remember help is available.

Find out how to stay ahead of scams at gov.uk/StopThinkFraud

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