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Council scheme to reduce online scams

24 fully trained Digital Ambassadors, who are based all over the county, are helping West Sussex County Council to keep people safe online.

The Get Safe Online West Sussex Digital Ambassadors are ready to help and can offer residents 1:2:1 sessions at a local library, presentations and informal chats at community groups, or attendance at community events to talk about all things digital.

The programme, which started in September last year, is a partnership between West Sussex County Council and Get Safe Online which aims to work with the local community and community networks to improve and encourage safer use of online devices and the internet.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “In September 2021 we were asking people to volunteer for this new programme, which was the first to go live in the UK, and it has been so encouraging to see people pick up the baton to support individuals and their community as a whole to stay safe online.

“To those residents who don’t feel confident at spotting a scam, or who may just need more general help with using the internet safely, our advice would be to get in contact with one of our friendly and patient volunteers who will be able to provide all the support and guidance you need to stay safe online.”

The role of the Ambassadors is becoming more important as research from Citizens Advice has found that more than three quarters of UK adults said they had been targeted by a scammer this year – a 14% increase compared to this time last year.

As part of their role the Digital Ambassadors can talk to individuals and groups about many things free of charge, including how to avoid being a victim of online scams, safe online banking, strong passwords, software updates and shopping safely online.

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