ASA supports online awareness campaign to help protect the public from scams

Friends Against Scams (FAS), a National Trading Standards (NTS) initiative which aims to protect and prevent members of the public from becoming victims of scams, is encouraging people to bolster their ability to spot the signs of scams by taking part in a free online awareness session.

The FAS initiative has been running for four years and over half a million people have already completed the session, with today’s FASathon – the Friends Against Scams marathon – aiming to get as many people as possible to visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and take part during the 24 hour timeframe.

By completing the online learning, participants will learn about the different types of scams, how to spot them and how support a victim. Through increased knowledge and awareness, FAS’ ambition is for people to have more discussions about scams with their family, friends and neighbours, enabling them to better protect themselves and others.

As part of our own commitment to help tackle scam ads, we recently signed up to become a FAS organisation so that we can increase awareness of the initiative and amplify its vital messaging to help protect consumers.

Throughout the year, we’ve also been supporting the Scams Awareness Campaign 2020, in which we offer advice to consumers and, where a business or individual uses advertising to operate a scam and behaving fraudulently, act to stop it.

In July, we launched a Scam Ad Alert System in partnership with major digital platforms, including Google and Facebook, to help us quickly signpost bogus ads to online partners so that they can take action to have them removed. The new system helps us better share intelligence with platforms and monitor what actions they take.

The tool forms part of our ongoing response to better tackling online harms and working more closely with other bodies to better protect consumers. And it builds on existing measures that digital advertising and social media platforms already employ to stop many scam ads appearing in the first place.

We’re also acutely aware that misinformation about the coronavirus continues to be widespread, and that scammers are using this ambiguity to profit from people’s fears. That’s why we’ve outlined our top tips for combatting scams, providing guidance to help consumers stay safe from those looking to exploit people’s health-related fears during this difficult period.

Our advice also lists other useful organisations consumers can get in contact with to find out more information about specific types of scams, including Action Fraud, Citizens Advice and the Financial Conduct Authority.

To take part in today’s FASathon, please visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk, and remember to invite others to do the same.

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