FRAUD is the topic on council bosses' lips this week as Fraud Awareness Week aims to prevent residents from falling victim to online scams.

The week of awareness will run until November 20 and aims to highlight the ways residents can protect their data from being accessed by fraudsters.

The campaign comes at a poignant time, after Barnsley Council revealed more than £1million was fraudulently taken from the council – a sum which has since been recovered.

It will focus on raising awareness of council-related fraud, misuse of blue badges, unlicensed or illegal taxis, and council tax fraud.

Fraud awareness events will also be held in the town centre where residents can get advice about staying safe from fraud.

Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for core services, said: “We are wholly committed to preventing and detecting fraud – against residents, businesses and the council.

“The recent fraud attack against the council was a stark reminder that anyone can fall victim of fraud, and no one can become complacent as criminals continue to undermine robust security systems, devise new scams and find new ways to exploit innocent people and businesses.

“I’m delighted that we are joining the global fight against fraud in Barnsley to protect all our residents and businesses. We would also urge anyone who suspects or knows of fraudulent activity against the council to report it to us.

“So, please take time to read the information and top tips to spot and stop fraud. Also remember to support and protect vulnerable friends and family against being a victim of fraud by sharing information and warning them about any scams they are exposed to.

“Although this campaign is being run for a week – remember we are all at risk every single day and must keep fighting fraud all year round.”

The first fraud awareness event will be held on Wednesday at 9am on Market Parade.