I contributed to a debate on online and telephone scams, an issue that blights our communities up and down the country and robs people of their money, self-esteem and confidence. Whilst scammers are utterly reprehensible, we know they are very intelligent and are constantly developing new techniques to scam their victims.
I pointed out that whilst Trading Standards works very hard to help victims, scams can affect anyone, elderly and vulnerable people are at particular risk, with the average age of a victim being 74 years old and the average loss being around £1,000. The impact of scams goes far deeper than the wallet, with victims feeling embarrassed and afraid to tell their families, which can often leave them being more open and vulnerable to repeat scams. It robs people of their self-belief and their willingness to trust people and can occasionally even lead to family breakdown.
We must also do more to educate people, including younger people who can fall victim to online scams and identity fraud, on how to spot scams and avoid them. I urged the Minister to reflect on this matter and take action to confront this problem that is so deeply scarring for so many in our communities.