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District Dispatch - 10 November 2022

Every year, the British public loses billions of pounds to fraudsters.

District dispatch 1

Fraud is when a person lies to you, or 'scams' you, to gain an advantage, such as taking your money or learning private information about you. You may be shocked to know, that between April and July of last year, victims of scams in the district lost £3.55 million.

The current cost of living crisis can enable fraudsters to exploit heightened emotions, needs and fears. We want to encourage people to be extra cautious because fraudsters are seeking to use both the economic crisis and Christmas to target people. Criminals are particularly good at using societal contexts to their advantage. A good example of this, is parcel scammers who are likely to target us in the run up to Christmas, when we are all receiving notifications.

We have also seen scams linked to energy rebates, uncertainty over the economy and the rising cost-of-living. In a stressful situation, people are more likely to click on a link or to be less savvy in spotting potential scams.

There's lots of support available to help you identify if something is genuine or not. The free Get Safe Online website checker (opens new window) provided is particularly useful. The Citizens Advice Bureau also offer an online scam checker tool. (opens new window)

We are also highlighting tips and advice on how to protect yourself from fraudsters through our 'Supporting You' campaign. This includes encouraging you to carry out your research and never to send money to anyone you don't know personally or buy anything you're not entirely sure of. Look out for spelling and grammatical errors in emails and texts, not being addressed by your name and poor layouts. Never reveal personal or financial data including usernames, passwords, PINs, or ID numbers. Don't open email attachments or click on links in communications from unknown sources. Make sure that your antivirus software is up-to-date and run a scan before opening anything you are suspicious of. Always update software, apps and operating systems when prompted, or set them to update automatically, and think before you click - if you think something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you haven't managed to visit our 'Supporting You' web pages, I would encourage you to do so. From tips on how to reduce household bills, through to advice on the financial support that is available, our Supporting You campaign aims to help you during the cost of living crisis - just visit our Supporting You web pages.

In other news, I am pleased to tell you that a second round of applications for the subsidised tree scheme has opened. Applications will close on 9 December, or when all available trees have been allocated. Our Tree Chichester District scheme has already seen 12,118 trees planted across the district since it was launched in January 2021. The subsidised tree scheme aims to expand on this work by helping residents, landowners, farmers, community groups, schools, businesses and charities to access 12,000 trees to plant in their communities this winter. The initiative is funded by HM Treasury's Shared Outcomes Fund and aims to test different ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas. The funding this year will cover 50% of the cost of the trees applied for, with applicants contributing the remaining 50%.

To apply for the scheme, applicants need to ensure that they have the space available to plant the trees, the site is suitable for planting, and that they have someone responsible for planting and maintaining them. The trees will be supplied in bundles of 10, 20 or 25, but not as individual trees. The cost ranges from £13.71 to £22.47 per bundle. Further information can be found on our tree scheme web page.

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council