Ian became a Volunteer Adviser with Citizens Advice Isle of Wight in 2019. Here he talks about his reasons for volunteering, and why he decided to become a Friends Against Scams Champion.  

 

Tell us a bit about yourself  

For 48 years I worked as a Business Software Consultant, working with numerous programming languages and operating systems. When I started as an Apprentice, computers were the size of a room!  

 

What made you want to be a Citizens Advice Adviser? 

Having retired I wanted to find ways in which I could continue to help people solve their problems and use my experience of listening, understanding and explaining. I had considered various volunteering roles, and then my ex-boss, who also volunteered for CA, suggested I go along – it’s difficult to say no to an old boss!  The dog I promised myself to get in retirement is still on the list! 

 

What made you interested in training to be a Friends Against Scams Champion? 

The role seemed a good fit with my background and my objective to step forward, speak out and ensure people were getting good advice and not being misled or tricked in any way.  I completed the Friends Against Scams Champion training (a National Trading Standards initiative) so that I can raise awareness. 

 

Tell us about your Isle of Wight Against Scams Facebook page 

The fundamental aspect is to raise awareness of what scams are out there. Knowledge and understanding is key to not getting caught out. With this in mind, I created an Isle of Wight Against Scams Facebook page with the goal of providing up to date information so users might have one place to know what the latest scams were and where to get help. 

 

Have you been scammed yourself, or know someone who has? 

Luckily no but saying that means I could become a target! People are reluctant to talk about being scammed and can find it somewhat embarrassing that they have been caught out, but that’s where prior awareness is important and getting help from Citizens Advice. 

 

What is the most memorable scam you’ve come across? 

There have been lots of well-known scams ranging from Email, Telephone and doorstep direct callers, The general rule of ‘if it looks too good to be true… it probably is a scam of some sort’ is a good place to start. I consider anyone who was caught by a scam another dent in the armour and inspires me to try to make information awareness better for the next time. 

 

What advice can you give someone who is a victim of a scam? 

Being Scammed or tricked can be embarrassing but it is important to get advice on how you can first protect yourself and then make other people aware so that they will be informed and avoid  them also being taken in by the scam. Recovering your money may be difficult but it’s important to report the scam quickly in case there is a chance. 

 

The key to fighting this ‘Battle of the Scammers’ is knowledge and awareness. Take up the challenge and help support your local community and friends by volunteering to spread awareness and keep everyone safe. Citizens Advice is always there to help where we can. If you think you have been scammed look at the Citizens Advice website to see how to report it at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/ 

 

You can also become a Friends Against Scam Champion – see www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk for more details 

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