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Media smart supports UK government’s national campaign against fraud in scam awareness drive

Advertising Association

3 min read Partner content

‘Scam flags add up to a scam’ to help young people identify and avoid fraudulent ads online

London, 5 March 2024: Media Smart is supporting the UK Government’s National Campaign Against Fraud through their scam advertising awareness campaign, as the industry steps up responsibility for helping young people understand advertising and media as part of its broader literacy programme. 

Research shows over a thousand children and teenagers in the UK are scammed every month.1

Media Smart’s ‘Scam flags add up to a scam’ campaign aims to help 13–18-year-olds identify possible scams and how to avoid them. It will also offer resources on how to report them on social media platforms, Action Fraud and the Advertising Standards Authority, and where those affected can go for support. 

It has been co-branded with the new National Campaign Against Fraud – STOP! Think Fraud which the Home Office launched in February to provide consistent, clear and robust anti-fraud advice to the general public.  

Media Smart, the award-winning advertising literacy non-profit, worked with youth focused creative agency, Livity, to cover a range of topics young people are most concerned about: cryptocurrency, online shopping deals, unauthorised remote access of webcams, scholarships and spoofing. 

Launching today to support both students and educators, the campaign will be delivered directly to young people in the places where they hang out online through engaging animated films. The assets will also be available for teachers and parents to use in the classroom and at home. A dedicated support hub is available on Media Smart’s website with downloadable support guides and access to video content.   

Rachel Barber-Mack, Executive Director, Media Smart, said: “This is a vitally important initiative, and we are pleased to be supporting the UK Government’s National Campaign Against Fraud to drive awareness of scam ads to keep young people safe and empowered online. There is a shared responsibility for all of us in the media and advertising industry to invest in media literacy, it will reap dividends from an educational perspective as well building public trust.”   

Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, said: “Fraud is the most prevalent crime in the UK. It’s a sad reality that criminals target young people.

“I welcome Media Smart’s work to help teenagers spot and report scam adverts as well as their support of our Stop! Think Fraud campaign so we can all detect and avoid fraud.”

Mark Lund OBE, Deputy Chair of the Government’s Online Advertising Taskforce and Chair of asbof (a Media Smart supporter), said: “Scam advertising is an ongoing challenge in our online ecosystem and key priority for the Online Advertising Taskforce to address. Media Smart’s latest campaign is a critical step in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the online world safely and responsibly, and will complement the industry’s existing efforts to respond to illegal harms.” 

Media Smart was incorporated into UK advertising trade body, the Advertising Association (AA), in 2023 and this campaign follows research from the AA’s Trust Working Group which showed suspicious advertising was a significant driver of distrust in the industry. The resulting Media Smart campaign is one of multiple actions the AA is taking to drive public trust in the industry.  

In 2023 alone, Media Smart resources reached 845,000 young people and saw 6,000 educational resources downloaded, backed by 36 supporters across 10 industry sectors. The organisation covers topics including body image, digital advertising, greenwashing, piracy & IP and career opportunities. 

If you are interested in joining Media Smart as an industry partner, please get in touch with Rachel Barber-Mack, Director of Media Smart, at mediasmart@adassoc.org.uk.  

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