A collection of news stories around digital safety, including safety against scams, where to report COVID-scams, a new app to help stop Loan Sharks, and Domestic Abuse news around sexting and smart devices.

NatWest Friends Against Scams programme

NatWest has launched the Friends Against Scams programme with National Trading Standards, to help reduce the number of people falling victim to criminal scams.

  • Scams are the fastest growing type of crime in the UK.
  • More than 50% of the population aged over 65 has been targeted by a scammer.
  • Only 5% of victims actually report the fact.
  • Identity theft now accounts for 56% of fraud, and the greatest increase of this type of fraud is in the 21- 30 age group.
  • Younger people are now falling victim to scammers, too.
  • There are scams circulating now around COVID-19, putting people at increased risk.

You can book one of their Zoom presentations for your community group or organisation, for free, along with leaflets, and support and advice emails.

To sign up, contact Laura, Matt, Rebecca & Hannah, Community Bankers,
NatWest, West Country Local Market, via 07387257669 or

Crimestoppers Covid Fraud hotline

Crimestoppers will run the government’s Covid Fraud Hotline, enabling the public to anonymously report people they suspect are abusing government schemes.

Members of the public are being encouraged to use the hotline to report things like unusual buying activity by companies and individuals, as well as cold calling by those falsely claiming that they are from the government and offering money for scheme.

Stop Loan Sharks app

This new free app is mainly aimed at frontline professionals and provides information on how to recognise the signs of illegal money lending, respond to disclosures and where to refer clients to for specialist support. This promotional landing page provides web users with an overview of the app and links to relevant app stores and share tools.

If you are concerned that someone you know may be the victim of a loan shark, please call the 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 or seek advice and support through the app.

Domestic Abuse

There has been a huge reported rise in domestic abuse and sexual violence during lockdown, as people are stuck at home with their abusers.

If you are experiencing Domestic Abuse, contact Safer Futures on 0300 7774777 or visit the Safer Futures website.

CPS ruling on sexting

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled that sexting should not be taken as consent to engage in sex, in new guidance published recently, to take into account the increasing use of digital devices in modern life. Naked selfies, dating apps and casual sex are covered in a wide-ranging Crown Prosecution Service review. (BBC news story CPS press release linking to full guidance)

Smart appliances being used for domestic abuse

With increasing availability of smart appliances in homes, they are being used by abusers to perpetuate their abuse, controlling and monitoring activities of the victim. From smart watches monitoring whereabouts, to smart devices controlling thermostats, abusers have more tools at their disposal than ever. An interesting BBC article looks at this in more depth.