In January, bemix hosted a virtual workshop with guest speaker, Claire Croucher - Police Liaison Officer for Swale. The workshop was all about ‘How to spot a scam’. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, resulting health crisis and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, fraudulent scams are rapidly on the increase. Criminals are taking advantage of those who are feeling especially lonely, isolated, and vulnerable at this time.

A scam can arrive by email, text, phone call or a knock at the door. It is important that people, including those with learning difficulties and/or autism, have access to the information needed to identify a scam. If people have support and information then they are able to make informed choices about decisions that impact their lives. This is at the core of our wider approach at bemix - you can read about our vision and values, here.

'How to spot a scam' workshop on Zoom

During the workshop, we discussed a range of scam scenarios. Claire shared stories about scams from victims that she had worked alongside and the devastating effects that the scam had on their lives. Some of the important and relevant scams we learnt about are those that are circulating about the Coronavirus vaccine. We discovered that scammers are sending text messages that appear to be from the NHS, offering the vaccine. These text messages ask people for money in return for the vaccination. We found out some ways to know that this is a scam, such as: the NHS will never ask for payment, because the vaccine is free. We also found out that the NHS will never ask for your bank details and never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine. The NHS will also not ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport.

After Claire had finished the workshop, we were given an opportunity to ask any questions that we had. By the end of the session attendees felt that they had learnt a lot and that knowing this information would help to keep them safe in the future.

Useful links:

Government Information about coronavirus and the coronavirus vaccine

NHS information about the coronavirus vaccine

Take Five To Stop Fraud Information 

Action Fraud