The Church of Ireland is backing the Scamwise NI campaign to keep people safe from scams. In any year, most of us will be targeted with an attempt to scam us out of money but if you can spot a scam, you can stop it too.
The following resources seek to help parishes to equip parishioners and their family, friends and neighbours so that they can prevent scams and seek assistance if they become a victim of a scam.
Scammers will target vulnerable people during emergency situations. Police have warned that cold callers are taking advantage of the the coronavirus outbreak and are advising householders to be cautious when considering offers of help.
The Scamwise NI campaign relates to Northern Ireland but, as many scams cross borders, members of the Church who are living in the Republic may also find this advice helpful. While there is no public campaign on this issue in the Republic at present, An Garda Síochána has provided a listing of local crime prevention officers who will be able to assist with this and other policing matters. The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau also provides guidance on preventing and tackling fraud.
Resources for parishes
Please click on the links in bold below to download resources. Hard copy leaflets are also available through contacting the Church of Ireland Press Office on 028 9082 8880.
PowerPoint slide (e.g. for use as part of church announcements or a presentation)
One–page leaflet for printing (PDF)
Two–page leaflet for printing (PDF) – this includes advice on information that will never be sought by a range of organisations which scammers will claim to represent
All of these resources highlight a four–point ‘scam test’ which anyone can use if a cold caller gets in touch.
Seems to be good to be true
Contacted out of the blue
Asked for personal details
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has also published the Little Book of Big Scams which outlines many of the most frequently used types of scams.
Getting help from your post office
Through its Scam? Ask Us initiative, the Post Office is encouraging anybody to ask counter staff if they are concerned that they are falling victim to a scam. Staff can then advise them if they think that the request is unusual or if it is a scam that they have come across before.
Four videos from the Post Office outline some regular scenarios in which people may find themselves as targets of scams and how people can get help from staff.
Remember: If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The four main Churches and the Irish Council of Churches are supporting Scamwise NI through the Church Leaders Group.