Initiative to ‘educate one million people about fraud and scams’ comes to Harrow

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Mark Mullally, community banker at NatWest, will be hosting a ‘Friends against Scams’ drop-in clinic event on Monday 10 June 2019, which is a free and impartial scam awareness event which is open to anyone who has concerns about fraud and scams. In light of this upcoming event, Varsha Patel spoke to Mark Mullally, who discusses what can be expected from the event, highlighting in particular that in 2018, 84,000 people lost £354 million through authorised push payment frauds.

Background to the scheme

NatWest is a partner to the Trading Standard’s Friends against Scams initiative, which aims to ‘protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams’.

The campaign outlines, among other things, that:

  • scams cost the UK economy £5-10billion a year
  • 53% of people over 65 have been targeted by scams
  • only 5% of scams are reported

Furthermore, the average scam victim has supposedly lost over £3000. Mark highlighted in particular that in 2018, ‘4,000 people lost £354 million through authorised push payment frauds and victims are approached in a myriad of ways.’ Mark added that the aim of the initiative is to ‘educate one million people about fraud and scams by 2020.’

 

Raising awareness

Mark said that hosting the Friends against Scams events forms part of his role as a NatWest community banker, but he also hosts events discussing other major issues, such as digital safety as well as offering 1-2-1 advice to customers at the branch: ‘I host the drop ins at various locations including libraries and cafes in the borough but I can also go out to individual community groups to talk generally or deliver a fixed presentation to them.’

‘In addition to raising awareness about the “Friends Against Scams” campaign I also talk to people about digital safety and how best to keep themselves whilst online. I also support schools with NatWest’s MoneySense financial education programme that supplies all the materials for the workshops and arranges volunteers to support the teaching staff.

‘Again, this more a community focused service. With regard to the commercial side of my role I can go out to locations affected by branch closures and make myself available to talk to people about the alternative ways they can do their banking such as online, mobile and telephone and also via the local post office. I can also see NatWest customers on a 1-2-1 basis at a location of their choosing should they need to discuss their finances but are unable to visit a branch.’

What can you expect from the event?

Mark outlined that the event, which is ‘free, completely impartial and open to everyone’ will educate the public on various fraud issues: ‘I go through the main types of approach of telephone, postal, doorstep and online; the techniques that the criminals use to entrap their victims and the best ways to stay safe and secure.’ Mark adds that while most of the interest comes from ‘older members of the community’, he will also discuss how teenagers are ‘used as money mules and are targeted and mostly likely to fall victim to ID theft.’ ‘I am always looking for new venues and audiences and would welcome any approaches via my email or telephone number.’

The event will be on 10 June 2019 at Kenton Library, 135 Kenton Lane. Further information can be found here.

 

Further events

Mark will also be supporting an event on 17 June 2019 at the Harrow Civic Centre, which will focus on the adult safeguarding team and their World Elder Abuse Awareness day.

By Varsha Patel.


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