Herts Citizens Advice given £260,000 grant to help fight against county’s fraudsters

Over a six month period in 2018, there were 6,272 frauds recorded across Herts

Over a six month period in 2018, there were 6,272 frauds recorded across Herts - Credit: Archant

Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has pledged £260,000 to support residents targeted by scammers.

The Community Safety Grant for the scam support and prevention project - run by Herts Citizens Advice - will be in place for the next two years at a cost of £130,000 per year.

According to Mr Lloyd, cyber-crime and fraud is the most prevalent crime in the county.

More than 6,200 frauds were recorded over a six month period in Herts in 2018. Action Fraud reports that these crimes cost victims £12.9 million.

The funding granted to Herts Citizens Advice will be used to employ three full-time scam advisors.

The advisors will train 600 volunteers and other workers, focusing on fraud prevention and repeat victimisation.

They aim to reach at least 2,000 victims over the two year window to help them recover any losses.

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The new advisors and workers will work with partners across the county to raise awareness and help prevent people from becoming victims.

Mr Lloyd feels a responsibility to do more than just policing - he says he wants to tackle the causes of crime and change lives for the better.

He said: "This is one of the biggest single award I have made from my Community Safety Grant.

"I have always promised to keep crime low and help victims - this project will help do both and benefit at least two thousand residents."

According to Nina Villa, chief executive of Stevenage Citizens Advice, the charity regularly provides advice to those in danger of becoming, or who already are victims, of scams.

She added: "We have a presence in every community in Herts. We are hugely grateful to the commissioner for his support."

This grant follows on from a successful pilot in Three Rivers, where 400 people were supported against potential scams.

The types of crime witnessed during the pilot scheme included online scams, pop-up stalls at a supermarket and telephone cold callers.

For free advice for Herts residents who are victims of crimes, call Beacon Victim Care Centre on 0300 0115 555.

To find your nearest Citizens Advice, go to citizensadvice.org.uk.