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District Dispatch - 28 November 2023

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

Councillor Adrian Moss, Leader of Chichester District Council

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've 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 Get Safe Online free website checker (opens new window) provided by our partners at 'Get Safe Online' is particularly useful. The Citizens Advice Bureau also offer an online tool, visit the Citizens Advice Scam Check webpage (opens new window). If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime please report through Action Fraud's reporting fraud and cyber crime webpage (opens new window) or contact them on 0300 123 2040.

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.

I also want to let you know that community groups and businesses are being encouraged to apply for the second round of two pots of government money. Last year, the council applied for a portion of the Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to spend on a variety of projects across the district. The council's application was approved last winter by the Government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the council was allocated £1 million for UKSPF and £700,000 for REPF.

The purpose of the UKSPF is to help encourage economic growth and improve the quality of life for people across the district. The REPF is intended to support projects that assist with supporting businesses and community infrastructure to address particular challenges faced by rural areas. Projects have already started to be delivered to improve public areas, as well as delivering events across the district.

During the first round of funding, 23 grant funded projects across the district were approved. These projects will be completed by April 2024. We're now encouraging community groups and businesses to apply by 3 January 2024 for the second round of grant funding for projects to be delivered from April 2024 and completed by March 2025. To find out more or apply, please visit the .

Best Wishes

Cllr Adrian Moss

Leader of Chichester District Council