Press releases

Certificate of Commendation for Ron Watts

Ron Watts Receiving his award Pensioner receives national recognition for his fight against scams
Isle of Wight pensioner Ron Watts knows what it’s like to be scammed. Now Ron, 85, of Ryde, is using his experience of being conned out of thousands of pounds to warn others not to fall into the same trap.
The Trading Standards Institute recognised his efforts with a Certificate of Commendation at the TSI Conference in Brighton on Wednesday 19 June.

Ron's ordeal started after he responded to a letter saying that he had been awarded a price of £7,700.  Caught in the scammers’ trap, Ron lost thousands of pounds as he sent money in order to receive his prizes, and at its worst was receiving up to 35 scam letters a day.
A year later, Ron had not received any of the promised prizes. His son and daughter persuaded him to contact trading standards - the information and advice he received was the confirmation Ron needed that the mailings were scams and he stopped responding to them.

Ron didn’t stop there and decided to help raise awareness of scams by using his own story to help protect others. He now volunteers for trading standards, spreading the message about scam mail.

Julie Woodhouse, principal trading standards officer at Isle of Wight Council, said: “The Isle of Wight has a large vulnerable population which is targeted by perpetrators of scams. The assistance that Ron gives us for example when we visit scam victims is invaluable – speaking from personal experience he is able to convince others of the fact that the notifications of price draws and lotteries coming through the letter box are not real.

“Ron recently had to change his phone number as the scammers had started hounding him by phone as well as by letter. At 85-years-old, Ron is on a mission to do what he can to prevent others being caught by scams and to the Isle of Wight trading standards service he is without a doubt our consumer hero.”

TSI's chief executive Leon Livermore said: "We are delighted to be able to give national recognition to Ron Watts, whose commitment to share his personal experiences in the hands of scammers is truly commendable. 
“Protecting the vulnerable from scams is a core plank of the work done by the trading standards profession up and down the country, and this type of assistance from members of the community is invaluable in maximising our reach and effectiveness."

Notes for Editors:

For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press officer Irja Howie on 07780675815or by e-mail on 

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. @tsi_uk

The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2013
The Trading Standards Institute’s annual trading standards and consumer affairs Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe. The 2013 Conference was at Brighton Centre from Tuesday 18 June to Thursday 20 June. 

Some 1,500 people attended the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations. 

For more information please visit and follow the #TSIConf13 stream on our @TSI_uk Twitter account.
DATE: 19 June 2013