New initiative launched to help young students avoid scams and identity theft

Published: 05/09/2022, 4:45pm
Scamwise Learning Resource
(L-R) Andrew McAfee (CCEA), Dervla Kearney (the Consumer Council), Superintendent Gerard Pollock (PSNI) and Julie Gray (CCEA). CCEA and the Consumer Council have partnered to release a new scam-awareness initiative for Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 young people, on behalf of the ScamwiseNI Partnership which is Chaired by the PSNI.

CCEA and the Consumer Council have launched a new initiative in time for the new academic year, aimed at helping students avoid scams and identity theft.

The Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 resources have been jointly produced by CCEA and the Consumer Council on behalf of the ScamwiseNI Partnership.

The interactive resources aim to help students learn about the different types of scams, both offline and online, whilst raising awareness of how identity theft can happen. Students will learn how to recognise scams and get tips and advice on how they can avoid a variety of scams.

Andrew McAfee, Business Manager at CCEA, said:

The Scamwise activities have been developed to help young people understand and be more aware when it comes to a variety of scams, both offline and online.

The resources embed e-safety education into teaching and learning in Personal Development and Mutual Understanding. There are opportunities within this resource to connect learning across other areas of the curriculum, such as The Arts, Language and Literacy and Physical Education.

These activities aim to help pupils learn about the different types of scams including phishing, vishing and smishing. Resources are included for sharing good practice with family, friends and neighbours, so that everyone in the community can feel protected from scams.

Dervla Kearney, Director of Consumer Empowerment at The Consumer Council, said:

As members of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, we are committed to continually evolving the programme and ensuring that our messages reach every potential consumer in Northern Ireland, including future generations of consumers.

Unfortunately, scams are a part of everyday life and many now are very sophisticated and target children and young people through apps, gaming and various platforms. Our recent research shows that the most common methods used to scam people in Northern Ireland are email and text messages, which is particularly concerning as many young people use mobile phones and technology as their communication preference.

Working with CCEA in developing these resources has been an important step in this process. We hope that it will equip children and young people with the information and understanding surrounding scams and how to protect themselves, friends and family.

Superintendent Gerard Pollock of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Chair of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, said:

I welcome this initiative which will help to advise and educate young people on how they can avoid falling victim to scams. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of scams reported over recent months and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated so the earlier we can reach people and provide guidance on the signs to look out for, the better.

I want young people to know that they should never disclose personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or online, no matter how convincing they may seem. They should never allow an unauthorised person to have access to such details and never ever download software based on a phone call. Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a scam please report it to the police on the non-emergency telephone number 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

For more information about the ScamwiseNI Partnership and how to protect yourself from scams, visit their website and Facebook page.

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