Celebrities sent to Scam Academy

Carol Vorderman, Donna Air and Rufus Hound attend Scam Academy – part of the Take Five financial fraud prevention campaign led by Financial Fraud Action UK

Carol Vorderman, Donna Air and Rufus Hound have teamed up with Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) for Scam Academy, as part of Take Five (a national campaign to help consumers and businesses stop fraud). Scam Academy aims to make consumers aware of the often simple methods – both emotional and technical – that fraudsters use to glean financial and personal details, with a series of videos reminding people that it pays to stop and ‘Take Five’ before they act.

The three ‘students’ who attended Scam Academy were put through their scamming paces by three experts in the fraud sector – Alexis Conran (BBC’s Real Hustle), Scott McGready (tech consultant) and Tony Blake (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit). Each student was shown the techniques scammers use to trick people into giving away personal or financial details, highlighting what consumers must watch out for to help them stay safe from fraud.

The three modules, which each feature in a separate video, include:

  • Email scams
  • Text scams
  • Phone scams

All the scams the students went through reflect real-life scams, and the films were created in consultation with the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, a unique pro-active police unit with a national remit, formed as a partnership between Financial Fraud Action UK, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service together with the Home Office.

Tony Blake, from the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit and Scam Academy lecturer:

“Financial fraud is a serious matter. While banks and other financial service providers are working hard to protect their customers, consumers can also play an important part in protecting themselves and helping us to stop financial fraud.

“Through Scam Academy, we want to show how financial fraudsters often use simple techniques to trick people out of their personal details and money. By showing consumers how they could fall victim to common scams – such as email, phone and text – we hope to drive home the message that they can stop scammers in their tracks with one simple action: Take Five before you respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details.”

Alexis Conran: “The ultimate aim of Scam Academy is to highlight that it pays to ‘Take Five’ if you’re ever asked for financial or personal details. If you’re ever unsure, never hesitate to contact the organisation in question. If it’s your bank or your credit card provider, use a number you trust such as the one listed on their website or on the back of your payment card.”

Carol Vorderman: “As a victim of financial fraud myself, I think Scam Academy is an excellent way to raise awareness of a very serious issue. Personally, I found the number spoofing terrifying and I didn’t realise it could be so convincing. I’ll definitely Take Five in future to double check who it is I’m responding to.”

Donna Air: “I was shocked by what I learnt at Scam Academy. It was a real eye-opener into the tactics scammers use to get your financial details. Since being at the Scam Academy, I’ve had a conversation with my friends and family about how important it is to ‘Take Five’ when it comes to disclosing financial details.”

Rufus Hound: “I decided to get involved in the Take Five campaign as my wife and I have been victims of fraud ourselves. I couldn’t believe how far these scammers will go to lure financial and personal details from people. Hopefully this campaign will raise awareness of a serious issue and encourage people to Take Five before they give out any financial and personal details.”

YouTube videos of the Scam Academy modules can be seen here: https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/scam-academy