Barry, who worked for 40 years as a nurse, first entered the medical profession as an Operating Theatre Technician in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Following a serious motorcycle accident, Barry retired early and was then confronted with the loss of his wife. After hearing of a chance to take part in a Spanish lottery, Barry entered, and sadly lost £3,000 to a scam pertaining to be an official draw.
Now a Mail Marshal for Friends Against Scams, Barry talked at Bournemouth University’s parliamentary reception combatting cyber scams and financial fraud targeting vulnerable adults in Westminster: “It’s really great that our work has got this far – we now need to get MP’s behind it too. When people hear what I’m about to say, they’ll understand why we need to go after scammers.
“The problem is that scams come from all over the world, so they are hard to find and it’s getting harder and harder to get rid of them.
“I work with Aylesbury Trading Standards, and I’m now a Mail Marshal scanning through post for scams – I’ve already worked to help six people in the area with scam mail. All that it takes is somebody that is slightly confused, or elderly, to be tempted.”
The event, which took place in the Churchill Room of the House of Commons, saw more than 100 leading stakeholders from across the finance and security industries, including representatives from Age UK, City of London Police, the National Trading Standards Scams Team, and the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work (NCPQSW).
Director of the NCPQSW at Bournemouth University, Professor Keith Brown, spoke about the financial and psychological impact of scams, and praised the work of bodies including the National Trading Standards Institute and Burdett Trust, who have enabled further work around the areas of cyber and financial scamming.
Professor Brown also highlighted the impact of vulnerability on the elderly, remembering vividly an occasion when his mother who had dementia, reached out to hold his hand for support, and also went on to exclaim the nature of clairvoyant scams and the way in which emotional connections could be exploited in those targeted by scamming criminals.
Professor Brown said: "Bournemouth University has been working with all key national agencies to coordinate a response and take it to the heart of UK government at the House of Commons. This event has been a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our work, and the work of others including Age UK, the police and Conor Burns MP. The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University will continue research and work to influence policy-makers, key stakeholders, and those determined to thwart scammers.”
Hosting the event, Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West and Alderney and Branksome East, expressed a desire to move forward work being done to combat scams, explaining his work in addressing banks and building societies, who he felt could do more to increase financial security against scammers. He also praised the work of both victims and organisations working to detect and deter scammers locally and nationally.
Guests were then invited to fill out ‘action points’ which asked guests to offer their points of view and intended contributions towards combatting scammers, which were then collected by the university.
To read more about the work of the NCPQSW and their research, please visit: http://www.ncpqsw.com/