How We Won an Award and Launched a Book on Scamming Prevention and Protection

Dr Sally Lee
Professor Lee-Ann Fenge
28th July 2017

We are a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Social Work (NCCDSW) at Bournemouth University (BU), and we have been working on a project to protect vulnerable people from scamming. We are proud to announce that we have won an institutional hero award from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for our work, and we have also launched a new textbook on scamming at the CTSI conference in Harrogate. The conference was held from 27-29 June 2017, and it was attended by more than 500 people from the consumer protection community.

The CTSI Conference and Award

The CTSI conference is an annual event that brings together professionals and experts from various sectors and disciplines who are involved in consumer protection. The conference features a range of talks, workshops, and sessions that cover topics such as trading standards, consumer rights, product safety, fair trading, and scamming.

At the conference, we were honoured to receive the CTSI’s institutional hero award, which is given to candidates who have made outstanding contributions to the field of consumer protection. The award recognised our research and collaboration with various partners, such as the police and the CTSI, to raise awareness and understanding of scamming and its impact on vulnerable people.

Leon Livermore, CEO of the CTSI, said: “By making this award we seek to highlight the contribution that the university has made to bring the issues surrounding scams to the attention of policy makers. As organisations we are often comfortable talking about our own issues, especially at a time when any government service linked to local government is experiencing once-in-a-generation challenges.

“However, the university has highlighted a commitment to reaching out to organisations across the consumer protection landscape to better understand the shared challenges that scams cause to our vulnerable population – especially as elderly, isolated and vulnerable individuals are a growing part of our communities.”

He added: “The University has contributed its research expertise – delivering a detailed snapshot of the current thinking on protecting vulnerable adults from scamming and making recommendations to local and central government on how preventative measures can help to improve the outcomes for consumers. It has also committed to working in the future on more detailed work to understand challenges caused by scammers to vulnerable individuals.”

The Book Launch and Talk

At the conference, we also launched our new textbook on scamming, titled “Safeguarding Adults, Scamming and Mental Capacity”. The book was co-authored by Sally Lee and Dr Lee-Ann Fenge from NCCDSW, and it provides a comprehensive overview of scamming and its effects on adults who may lack or have impaired mental capacity. The book also offers practical guidance and advice on how to prevent and respond to scamming.

The book launch was accompanied by an introductory talk by the director of NCCDSW, who spoke about the ways in which our centre’s research had been developed by working with various partners. The director said: “What we are finding is really quite fascinating but also quite scary. Scamming is different for different people and comes about in lots of different ways. Some people realise they are being scammed, some don’t, and some people are frankly too embarrassed to even admit it to themselves.

“Scamming can be ‘door-step’ crime, these are the sort of people who come to your house and want to paint your shed or fence for £1,000, and then repair your roof for £10,000. We’ve also got mail scamming, false lotteries, telephone scamming, and internet scamming, which is on the rise, and is not as prevalent in the elderly.”

The Background of Our Project

Our project on scamming prevention and protection is part of our wider work at NCCDSW, which was founded in 2000 and is based at BU’s Lansdowne campus. The centre works in partnership with over one third of local authorities in England, and has seen more than 10,000 students study in social work fields at BU.

Our project aims to investigate the causes and effects of scamming, especially on older and vulnerable people. We also aim to develop effective ways to raise awareness and understanding of scamming among professionals and the public. We work with key partners from across the public, voluntary, financial and law enforcement sectors, such as:

  • The Chartered Trading Standards Institute
  • The National Trading Standards Scams Team
  • Royal Mail
  • The Burdett Trust for Nursing
  • Action Fraud
  • Age UK
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Crime and Scamming

Together with these partners, we are committed to making a positive difference for the people and organisations that we work with.

Meet the author(s)

Dr Sally Lee

Programme Lead for the MA and BA Social Work programmes
Sally completed her Post-Doctoral Research in 2016, exploring social work practice, physical disability and sexual well-being. Sally is Programme Lead for the MA and BA Social Work programmes and teaches across both programmes leading the Professional Practice with Adults units and the First Placement unit with the BA students.
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Professor Lee-Ann Fenge

Director of the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices
Lee-Ann is Professor of Social Care in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences. She is a Registered Social Worker and has always been committed to advancing the professional evidence base of social care practitioners.
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