In the first three months of this year, residents in West Sussex lost a total of just over £3.5million to criminals using different types of scams. The majority of victims were aged 60 or over and just under half of the reports came from people living alone.
To stop individuals becoming victims of fraud and blackmail, a new series of free webinars and in person events are being run to raise awareness about online safety.
The sessions, organised by West Sussex County Council’s Digital Safety Team, are being held on the following dates:
Tuesday 23 May – online only session.
Wednesday 14 June 10am – 3pm at East Grinstead Library with an online webinar also available in person from 00 – 11.30am.
Wednesday 2 August 10am – 3pm at Horsham Library with an online webinar also available in person from 00 – 11.30am.
Tuesday 15 August 10am – 3pm at Bognor Library with an online webinar also available in person from 00 – 11.30am.
Tickets for the online sessions can be booked via Eventbrite but anyone who would like to attend one of the webinars in person can go along to East Grinstead, Horsham or Bognor Library on the designated day at 10am.
The webinars will provide individuals with the knowledge on how to spot scams and what to do if they, or their family, become a victim of online fraud.
On Wednesday 14 June, Wednesday 2 August, and Tuesday 15 August from 11.30am – 3.00pm, members from the Digital Safety Team will be on hand at each library event – alongside Digital Ambassador Volunteers and the West Sussex Library Service’s Digital Access Team and Digital Volunteers – to support people with any enquiries or provide information on how to be more scam aware.
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue, said: “Whether it’s online, on the phone or on your doorstep, fraudsters have many ways of scamming people, and unless you know what to look for, it is very easy to get caught out.
“The top three fraud and blackmail scams between January and March this year are courier and impersonator fraud, sextortion and dating and romance fraud. With most of these taking place online, these scam awareness webinars, and in-person events are a great way for people to find out more on how they can stay safe and ultimately stop themselves, or their friends and family from becoming another victim.”
If you can’t attend one of these sessions, you can visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/staying-safe-online where you can find more information on how the Digital Safety Team can support you, your family or business to stay safe online.