Friends Against Scams initiative to include adaptable interactive workshops for children aged 8-16 

With scams costing the UK economy £5-10 billion per year*, knowing how to identify them and take measures to protect and prevent people from falling victim to them is crucial. The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team believe it’s essential to inform and empower young people on the issue, so they can take action against fraud and scams in the future.

To encourage this movement, ‘Young Friends’ has been launched, as a new addition to the NTS Friends Against Scams initiative. Through a new interactive workshop which has been created for delivering in schools and youth groups, ‘Young Friends’ aims to teach children aged 8 years and above about:

  • Scams and how they can affect people’s lives
  • Different types of scams including – postal, telephone, online and doorstep
  • How to protect themselves and their families from being scammed
  • How to spot and help a scam victim 

The package contains various resources including, lesson plans, interactive activities, games and a PowerPoint presentation which are all easily adaptable to target different age ranges and abilities. This means the programme can be delivered in different settings and environments by professionals or volunteers, including school teachers, youth group workers, community group leaders, local councils and those working with children.

The ‘Young Friends’ awareness session was originally piloted across the country with Girl Guides, Scouts and Brownies groups taking part.

Claire Hodgson, Senior Trading Standards Specialist from Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards said:

“I carried out a Young Friends Against scams session alongside a local SCAMchampion to a group of girl guides. The girls had a great evening which was fun, interactive and informative. The group were all keen to go home and spread the scam awareness messages they had learnt. They went away knowing the signs to look out for with family members and neighbours and were all very proud to receive their certificates!”

Louise Baxter MBE, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team said:

“Criminals can target anyone and the more people the team can help – the better. Since the Friends Against Scams initiative launched in 2016, over 270,000 Friends have been recruited and have committed to taking a stand against scams.

“By creating the Young Friends session, we hope to be able to help young people become more consious of things to look out for in order to protect both themselves as they get older and also their families.

“The training covers the four main types of scams, how to spot these crimes and how to protect yourself and loved ones from them. With the rise of new technology, we believe that learning how to spot these scams is an essential skill for the next generation.”

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The Young Friends resource materials were developed with assistance from: Stuart Tweedale – Lincolnshire Deputy Police Crime Commissioner, pupils of Cranwell & Spilsby Primary Schools in Lincolnshire, PC Melanie Standbrook - Lincolnshire Police, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards and Norfolk Trading Standards in partnership with Friends Against Scams.

Designed to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem and change the perceptions of why people fall for scams, Friends Against Scams now has more than 270,000 Friends across the UK, working together to protect people and raise awareness of fraud and scams.

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