‘SCAMchampions’ helping older people become scam aware

Pictured at the launch of the SCAMChampions project in Mid and East Antrim - Eve Booker MEAAP, Peter May - Department of Justice, Paul Black PSNI, MEABC Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow, and Edna Walmsley MEAAP.
Pictured at the launch of the SCAMChampions project in Mid and East Antrim - Eve Booker MEAAP, Peter May - Department of Justice, Paul Black PSNI, MEABC Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow, and Edna Walmsley MEAAP.

A new project which aims to protect older people across Mid & East Antrim from falling victim to scammers has been launched.

“SCAMChampions” will be working with businesses across Mid and East Antrim to deliver free 30-minute training sessions to them to educate them on how they can help their older customers recognise when they are being scammed.

The project is funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Assets Recovery Community Scheme.

It is being delivered by the Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership until March 2021 in partnership with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Mid & East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnerhip (PCSP) and the Scamwise Northern Ireland initiative.

Attending its launch in the borough, was Peter May, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Justice.

He said: “I am delighted that my Department was able to provide funding for MEAAP’s ‘Friends Against Scams’ project through the Assets Recovery Community Scheme (ARCS), which helps prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime in communities

“This project will reach out to older people, through the business community, to raise awareness of the wide range of scams, frequently targeted at older and vulnerable people in our society.

“It is important that those at risk of scams are empowered to feel safer and more confident to spot, stop and report a potential scam.”

Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) Community Navigator Sarah McLaughlin explained how the new project can work for borough businesses in Ballymena, Larne or Carrickfergus.

She said: “Our Scamchampion can visit your place of business to deliver the training to your staff and answer any questions or situations you may already come across with customers.

“During the training you have the opportunity to sign up as a SCAMbassador and will also receive gift bags for customers with helpful information booklets that customers can take home with them to keep.

“Scams are an ever-growing issue for older people and we regularly come into contact with those who have unfortunately been the victim of a scam.

“This project will highlight the fantastic opportunity that local businesses have, to play a role, in supporting older people to become more scam aware.”

Anyone who thinks their business could benefit from this training can contact Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership on 02825658604 to book a slot with the SCAMChampion.