15 November 2023: To coincide with International Fraud Awareness Week (12 – 18 November), Virgin Media O2 has teamed up with actor and documentary maker, Ross Kemp, to launch Crafty Lager 7726 – a new limited-edition fraud-fighting beer created to get the nation talking about scams.
The lager, an ode to well-known beer naming conventions, puts fraud advice directly into consumers’ hands in a new and unexpected way as part of the company’s campaign to kick-start a conversation around fraud and help the nation to swerve the scammers.
It launches off the back of new research revealing nearly a quarter (23%) of Brits report falling for a scam, and more than two in five (41%) know someone else who has. Of those who have fallen for a scam, 68% have lost money as a result, with the average loss being £393.
However, the majority of scam victims didn’t tell their family (57%) or friends (67%) about their experience, with three in 10 (30%) Brits finding it more embarrassing to talk about than their reasons for going to the doctor or tripping in public (27%). This is despite more than three quarters (77%) of people believe that having more open conversations could help people stay safe.
To break down the shame barrier, Virgin Media O2 is working to encourage people to start a conversation about fraud, what to look out for and actions to take to remain safe.
The Crafty Lager 7726 label reminds consumers never to share one-time passcodes over the phone, which 44% of people didn’t know. There is also advice on how to report dodgy calls and texts by forwarding them to 7726 – which spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad – on any network.
Virgin Media O2 has also partnered with Proper Pubs, the community wet-led operator division of Admiral Taverns and Off Broadway in London’s Hackney, to make Crafty Lager 7726 available for free for a limited time only in selected pubs across the UK. Members of the public can simply order a ‘7726’ at the bar of a participating pub to get two free beers or a non-alcoholic option for them and a friend – the perfect fraud conversation starter.
Actor and documentary maker, Ross Kemp, famous for his role as publican Grant Mitchell in EastEnders and for Bafta-award winning documentaries, is backing the campaign. He said “I’ve teamed up with Virgin Media O2 in the fight against scammers to launch Crafty Lager 7726 and help put fraud top of the agenda when catching up with mates or family for a drink.
“With these fraudsters continually adapting their tactics, it’s important to keep your guard up. If you receive a call or a text unexpectedly, offering a deal too good to be true and asking for a security code, don’t share it; just hang up – it’s almost certainly a scam.
“The more we talk about fraud the better we become at spotting the signs. So, whether it’s a beer or a brew, whatever your choice of beverage, why not take the chance to have a chat over a drink and break the taboo.”
Rob Orr, Chief Operations Officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “Fraud is now a national epidemic and, with thousands of people falling victim every single day, we are committed to doing all we can to help the UK swerve the scammers.
“Awareness of common scams and tactics can help consumers fight the phoneys, so we are arming Brits with the tips and tools they need to protect themselves. That’s why we’re proud to launch Crafty Lager 7726; which puts top tips on staying safe into consumers’ hands, kickstarting a national conversation.”
“We can all help by reporting dodgy messages and calls to 7726. By taking just a few seconds to forward them on, we can investigate and shut down frauds faster and further improve our blocking technology to stop future scams in their tracks.”
Reporting scam texts and calls helps Virgin Media O2 and other telecoms companies to both block the mobile numbers used by fraudsters and prevent or shut down similar scams faster in future. So far this year, Virgin Media O2 has blocked more than 78 million texts, in part thanks to reports to 7726.
O2’s steps for staying safe from scammers
Alongside the launch of Crafty Lager 7726, Virgin Media O2 has pulled together three simple steps on what to do when called by a scammer or upon receiving a suspicious message:
STOP: If you receive a call out of the blue for someone claiming to be from O2, think about what you’re being asked to do. Does it feel right? Are you being asked for personal data or a code over the phone? If you have any suspicion that you might be speaking to a scammer, the best thing to do is hang up and call us back by dialling 202 from your O2 phone.
SEND to 7726: Worked out you might have spoken to or received a text from a scammer? Don’t just ignore it, take a few seconds to forward on to 7726 so O2 can block the number and shut down similar scams faster in future.
SPEAK OUT: Let your friends and family know about the scam. By telling others, you can help keep them safe and ensure they’re never caught off guard.
For additional fraud advice, as well as the full list of participating pubs, please visit: https://news.virginmediao2.co.uk/fraud/
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