WESTMINSTER DIARIES: Honoured to visit Lyndon Residents' Association - The Solihull Observer

WESTMINSTER DIARIES: Honoured to visit Lyndon Residents' Association

Solihull Editorial 14th Jul, 2018   0

Last week I had the honour of being invited to address a packed meeting of the Lyndon Residents’ Association.

Over the course of about 45 minutes we covered a broad range of topics including crime, the future of our local police station, local NHS services, and the challenge of unauthorised traveller incursions into our parks and public spaces. However top of the agenda was a subject close to my heart: fraud.

I have a special interest in this vicious crime for two reasons. As a former personal finance journalist I have seen the huge damage that scam artists can inflict on vulnerable individuals and society alike. And as MP for Solihull, I’m acutely aware that the average cost to a victim of fraud in our town is an eye-watering £9,600 – that’s nine times the national average.

Since being returned to Parliament I have taken the lead in helping the Government get tough on scammers, including opening the Commons debate on a major new piece of anti-fraud legislation in 2016. I was also glad to share some advice on staying safe at a local Q&A organised by Barclays and O2 last month.

One thing I constantly emphasise is how important it is that people who fall victim to scam artists, or know somebody who has, report it. Too many people are embarrassed at having been taken in, and don’t want to look foolish to the authorities. But there are several organisations that can offer advice and practical support – and several residents asked me where they should turn if the worst happens.

ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre. Operated in partnership with the City of London Police, it provides a national lead on policing this complex crime. You can find them online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you are specifically concerned about an elderly relative or neighbour, then Age UK has a new Scams Prevention and Victim Support programme. Look them up on their website or call 0800 055 6112 for more information. Citizens Advice are also an excellent first point of call.

Finally, any Solihull resident who has concerns about fraud, either on their own behalf or that of somebody they know, is always welcome to contact my office. My team and I are here to support you.

Scam artists are predators who victimise some of the most vulnerable people in our society. They ruin individuals, cost the economy billions, undermine trust, and damage communities. Together, we can beat them.

Julian Knight, Solihull MP

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