Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce join the fight to make the county a no-go area for fraudsters

Published: Monday, 28th February 2022

The Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership has expanded further. The Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce have joined the partnership with the aim of making Staffordshire a no-go area for fraudsters.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, created the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership in 2019 to combine resources aimed at tackling non-benefit fraud against both authorities. It is now expanding to cover the thousands of businesses across the county that could potentially be victims of fraud.

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce has been representing the interests of local businesses for 200 years and were crowned Chamber of the Year 2021 at the British Chambers of Commerce Chamber Awards. It has a network of over 4,500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the impact of fraud and scams on these businesses can be damaging.

The most common types of fraud aimed at SMEs are:

  • CEO scams – where fraudsters impersonate a senior manager to convince individuals to make a payment outside of the business’ internal procedure.
  • Mandate scams – where fraudsters pose as suppliers and request that bank details are changed.
  • Employee fraud – where fraud is committed against a company or organisation a person is working for.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “I am incredibly pleased to see the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership expand to include the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. We have worked with partners to create a strong anti-fraud culture across the county and now this will be extended to local businesses.

“Here in Stoke-on-Trent we have some brilliant shops and businesses and we are keen to help them to do well, particularly given some of the challenges they have been facing over the last two years.

Through the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership, we can develop joined-up strategies and partnership-wide reporting mechanisms to tackle fraud across local authority boundaries. Those who wrongly believe they can cheat the system and get away with it have a huge financial and social harm impact on local people and businesses, and we won’t tolerate that here.”

Tom Nadin, Head of Projects and Business Services at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce said: ‘We are delighted to join the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership and strengthen our robust programme of services that can support businesses who have been victims of crime. Last year we supported over 6,000 local businesses to protect themselves from falling victim to crime, or to recover quickly from a crime, through our dedicated Business Crime Advisor. We look forward to working with the other partnership organisations to share knowledge and expertise to ensure Staffordshire is a no-go area for fraudsters.”

Everyone can report suspected fraudulent activity online at www.staffsfraud.org, by calling the council’s hotline on 01782 236800 or via email at report@staffsfraud.org. All reports will be treated confidentially and can be made anonymously.