Meet Barry Linton, one of our 13 Fraud and Scam volunteers who work with us to support vulnerable victims and also provide fraud prevention advice.

Barry became an official police support volunteer in June 2020 but his work with us goes back to July 2017 when he met our Chief Constable and a detective inspector at a (U3A) University of the Third Age presentation about cybercrime and its impact on the older generation.

“The cybercrime part only lasted 15 minutes but, as a retiree from the IT Industry, its importance to me was clear. Afterwards I asked the Chief Constable if I could work work with a member of his team to create a fuller seminar specifically aimed at the risks to older people and the mitigating actions they need to know about,” says Barry.

He worked with one of our cyber protect officers and developed a presentation for his local U3A group but word got around and until lockdown in March 2020 they gave talks with live demonstrations to large audiences around the county. With the advent of the pandemic, these talks halted.

But, as Barry puts it, ‘Enter … the world of Zoom.’.

And since June 2020, he’s been volunteering 12 hours a week, delivering cyber protection seminars online.

“Now, having joined the team and learnt a lot from my new colleagues, the message has continued to go out to an even wider national audience of U3A branches via Zoom, badged under Essex Police,” he says.

“It keeps me very busy as new types of scams are emerging all the time. And, on a personal level, not only has being a volunteer kept me well occupied during an awful time for all of us but the way the sessions have been received by my contemporaries has been very gratifying.

“I still find it amusing that, aged 75 and retired for 10 years, I again have someone to call ‘Boss’.

“I get regular messages from U3A members saying how they spotted a scam and avoided it – that’s a great feeling. I reckon about 5,000 people must by now have seen our presentation and the cyber protect officer and I are both still amazed how the meeting around my kitchen table has gone viral!”

Could you be a volunteer like Barry? Find out more about becoming a volunteer for Essex Police and supporting your community.