Mel Stride

    TACKLING the stigma that surrounds being a victim of a scam and helping people recognise when someone is attempting to scam them remain two barriers to helping the police combat this kind of fraud according to Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez and Central Devon MP Mel Stride. Their pair met on last week during Scam Awareness fortnight to discuss the issue.

    Mr Stride said:

    “There are scams which you can spot a mile away such as someone offering you millions of pounds for helping them transfer money out of their country. But there are others that are incredibly sophisticated, that appear to be an official letter or email from an official organisation like HMRC or perhaps use a small bit of knowledge about you to extract other personal information which is then used to access your bank account. When someone falls victim to a scam they should not feel it was their fault or let any embarrassment they feel prevent them from reporting it to the police.”

    Ms Hernandez, a Scambassador with Trading Standards, added:

    “UK Policing take fraud seriously and Mel is right that we always need victims to come forward. Their information will helper gather intelligence about the person or organised group responsible for the crime in the UK or abroad and help us ensure victims receive the support they might need as it can be very distressing. We can also help prevent fraud from happening in the first place by looking out for friends and family members who might be more vulnerable to scammers, such as the elderly or those with mental health problems, and by carefully studying any communication we receive which we weren’t expecting.”

    Scams are believed to be costing the UK economy between £5bn and £10bn a year. advice is available from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 and scams can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Useful information about avoiding scams can be found at For more about becoming a Scambassador visit

    Photo: Central Devon MP Mel Stride and Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez promoting scam awareness fortnight.