Featured Research

Financial Scamming and Fraud

Financial scamming and its impact have been receiving a higher public profile in recent months, yet though it is a recognised as a growing problem, there is a lack of clear research and evidence into the scale of the problem, its causes and the impact on the public.

NCPP Bournemouth UniversityFinancial Scamming is a growing problem that is now being recognised as a crime.

The negative impact it has on individuals and society as a whole is gradually becoming clear as further research probes into the consequences and damage caused by financial scamming. It has already emerged that these criminals purposely target some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who sadly, are not always able to protect themselves.

The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice have been working in partnership with key national organisations and politicians to develop further research and raise awareness of financial scamming to develop a better understanding of this crime. We are working together to not only reduce the risk of financial scamming but to raise awareness to organisations and the public so that they too can join the fight against scamming.

This work is far from complete and we are continuing to research and develop our ideas and understanding. If you would like to contribute your thoughts or ideas please contact us. It is only via our collective efforts that we will be able to tackle this growing issue and we positively welcome your input and support.

This document has been updated from our original work in order to support the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group chaired by Conor Burns M.P.

To download this free PDF click here

Financial Scamming is a growing problem that is now being recognised as a crime.

The negative impact it has on individuals and society as a whole is gradually becoming clear as further research probes into the consequences and damage caused by financial scamming. It has already emerged that these criminals purposely target some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who sadly, are not always able to protect themselves.

The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice have been working in partnership with key national organisations and politicians to develop further research and raise awareness of financial scamming to develop a better understanding of this crime. We are working together to not only reduce the risk of financial scamming but to raise awareness to organisations and the public so that they too can join the fight against scamming.

This work is far from complete and we are continuing to research and develop our ideas and understanding. If you would like to contribute your thoughts or ideas please contact us. It is only via our collective efforts that we will be able to tackle this growing issue and we positively welcome your input and support.

2018 Asks

1. Challenge to financial institutions:
All financial institutions should set out the steps they will take to identify customer susceptibility to fraud and scams and implement appropriate protective measures.

  • Publishing performance data so customers can hold financial institutions to account.
  • Adoption of the British Standards Institute’s code of practice.
  • Continuation of partnership work with the Joint Fraud Taskforce. and active pursuit of systems to stop fraudulent payments and block fraudulent but authorised push payments.
  • A strong focus on prevention by all financial institutions through raising awareness and staff training on recognising signs of scam and fraud susceptibility
  • Adopting initiatives such as Friends Against Scams.

2. Challenge to government:
The government should publish a joint strategy on fighting fraud and reducing harm to the public from fraud and scams.

This strategy should:

  • Be shared across all government departments that have responsibility for fraud, scams and financial abuse (including the Home Office, the BEIS and the DCMS).
  • Set out methods of sharing best practice and ensuring consistent messaging across all sectors.

The aim: to reduce duplication and confusion and enable joint commitment to fight fraud.

3. Challenge to local government:
Local authorities should ensure they have strategies to tackle fraud which link relevant services, including Safeguarding Adult Boards and adult social care, trading standards public health.

These strategies should include:

  • Action supporting individuals and improving their wellbeing.
  • Prevention of harm from abuse
  • Intelligence sharing, disruption of criminal activity and law enforcement

4. Improve fraud awareness in the next generation:
One of the fastest growing groups of people responding to scams is young people aged under 25.

To upskill future generations we believe financial education should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum from Key Stage 3 to include:

  •  Fraud and scam awareness
  •  Financial literacy skills
We Asked and We Did
1. All agencies, especially financial institutions should:

Recognise that consumers/clients with Dementia are by definition more at risk of being scammed. Therefore measures to protect this population group are required as part of a ‘duty to care’, and those with a diagnosis of Dementia have by definition a cognitive impairment which means that their potential ‘unwise decision’ is a result of their cognitive state rather than simply an unwise decision.

We have delivered over 20 radio and television broadcasts and 15 national conference keynote addresses. We have published the national guidance on Lasting Powers of Attorney in relation to next of kin and the National Mental Capacity Act Competency Framework. These documents provide key information and raise awareness of issues related to capacity and decision making. In addition we published a new text book: Safeguarding adults, financial scams and mental capacity. The Chair of CTSI has issued this text as national guidance to every trading standards team, and a copy has been provided to every safeguarding adult board.

There is still much to do as those with cognitive impairments are a group at significant risk of fraud and scams and we will continue to raise awareness.

2. All organisations that hold personal data should:

Only share or pass on personal details and information to other organisations via a clear opt in as opposed to an opt out process. Data should only be held for a maximum of 12 months before permission needs to be sought again.

Recognise that the normal default position should be that charities do not share, pass on or sell personal details to help prevent ‘Suckers Lists’. The exception being to report a safeguarding concern to statutory agencies where there is a suspicion that the person(s) is/are at risk of harm or scamming and this information should be used in accordance to The Care Act (2014).

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25.5.18, is a significant step to prevent unauthorised data sharing and to stop ‘suckers lists’ at source. Awareness raising amongst the general public and organisations is necessary to increase understanding about the importance of GDPR in preventing scams and fraud.

We are working in partnership with the Joint Task Force (JTF) and National Trading Standards Scams Team to raise awareness of data protection. We have produced learning materials for Age UK and the community health sector which are being promoted by NHS England’s safeguarding team to help alert healthcare professionals to scam prevention and data protection.

3. Citizens who feel at risk of financial scamming should be able to:

Formally notify their bank or building society in writing stating that they feel at risk and requesting that all transactions to new payees above a defined threshold (perhaps £1000) have a 72 hour delay before being processed.

At the start of the 72 hour delay period, an email/text alert is automatically sent to the customer’s nominated representative (relative/friend) stating that the customer is attempting to make a large transaction. This will give the opportunity for the proposed transaction to be challenged with a view to potentially stop it leaving the consumers account.

We will continue to push financial institutions to develop systems which actively protect customers made vulnerable by their health or circumstances.

‘Self-declaration’ or vulnerability should and must trigger systems designed to prevent financial fraud and we will work in partnership with CIFAS and the financial sector to achieve this.

We will continue the ongoing work with the City of London Police, Action Fraud and the City of London Corporation to promote awareness amongst financial institutions and seek further protective measures for their customers.

We supported the JFT to launch the British Standards Institution’s PAS standardisation system and to implement a working group focused on banking interventions.

We have been working in partnership with key national organisations and politicians to develop resources to raise awareness of financial scamming.

These resources are available to order or to download, please click on the cover image below.

Our publications are part of our on-going commitment to supporting practitioners, and the organisations they work in, to continue improving the lives of those at risk of harm and who are experiencing abuse.  We never forget at the centre of practice in safeguarding adults is a person in need of support.

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. Report fraud to Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number. Action Fraud is not an emergency service – dial 999 if you are in immediate danger. Available from: www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Action on Elder Abuse are a charity who work to protect and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older adults and protect other adults at risk of abuse. Available from: www.elderabuse.org.uk.

Age UK provide companionship, support, advice services for older people and families. Available from: www.ageuk.org.uk/.

Age UK befriending service
www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/.

Alzheimer’s Society provide advice and support for people with dementia and their families. Available from: www.alzheimers.org.uk/.

Banking protocol is aimed at ensuring banks and police are more active in protecting customers. It is being run as a joint venture between the police, Financial Fraud Action – which represents banks – and National Trading Standards. Available from: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39166130from.

British Bankers Association is the trade association for the UK banking sector. Available from: www.bba.org.uk/?s=fraud.

Cifas is a fraud prevention membership organisation, with the largest confirmed fraud database and members from all sectors. Their website has information for individuals as well as organisations. Available from: www.cifas.org.uk/.

Citizens Advice provides free, confidential advice about legal and consumer issues.
Available from: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

City of London Police – National Policing Lead For Economic Crime Annual Review 2016 – 2017 is available from: www.cityoflondon.police.uk/advice-and-support/fraud-and-economic-crime/Documents/ecd-annual-review-201617.pdf.

Cyber Aware is a cross-government awareness and behaviour change campaign delivered by the Home Office in conjunction with Department of Culture, Media & Sport alongside the National Cyber Security Centre, and funded by the National Cyber Security Programme in the Cabinet Office. Available from: www.cyberaware.gov.uk/.

Financial Fraud Action UK Take Five is a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK (part of UK Finance), backed by Her Majesty’s Government and delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense. Available from: takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/about/take-five.

Get Safe Online provides information on online safety. Available from: www.getsafeonline.org/.

Joint Fraud Task Force. The taskforce is a partnership between banks, law enforcement and government to deal with fraud and to focus on issues that have been considered too difficult for a single organisation to manage alone. Available from: www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-fraud-taskforce-management-board.

Little Book of Big Scams. Metropolitan Police. Available from: www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The-Little-Book-of-Big-Scams-%E2%80%93-Third-Edition.pdf.

National Trading Standards eCrime Team tackle national online scams and support local and regional trading standards officers with e-crime investigations. Available from: www.tradingstandardsecrime.org.uk/.

National Trading Standards Scams Team tackles mass marketing. It works in partnership with agencies to identify and support victims of mass marketing fraud and provides guidance and best practice to assist local authorities in supporting local victims and enforcement action. Available from: www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/work-areas/scams-team/.

Office of the Public Guardian protects people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, such as about their health and finance. The OPG supervises deputies and registers Lasting Power of Attorney. Available from: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian.

Operation Signature is the force campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud within Sussex; this model is being rolled out with other police forces. Available from: sussex.police.uk/advice/protect-yourself-and-others/fraud/operation-signature/.

Royal Mail Scam Helpline. Available from: https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/303.

RVS befriending service. Available from: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/get-help/support-at-home/good-neighbours

Silverline provide free and confidential advice and friendship, links to local groups and protects and supports people at risk of abuse. Available from: www.thesilverline.org.uk/what-we-do/our-helpline/.

Take Five is an awareness campaign designed to urge the public and businesses to take time to consider whether a situation they find themselves in is genuine. It is led by FFA UK (Financial Fraud Action UK) and its members with partners Cifas and the City of London Police. The campaign is backed by all the major banks and other financial service providers across the UK. A range of advice, videos and educational resources can be downloaded from: www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/.

Telephone Preference Service is the free registration service to opt out of marketing or unsolicited calls. Available from: www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html.

The National Crime Agency protects the public by disrupting and bringing to justice serious and organised criminals who present the highest risk to the UK. Available from: www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/.

The National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) was set up to help protect services from cyber-attacks, manage major incidents, and improve the underlying security of the UK Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations. Available from: www.ncsc.gov.uk/.

Think Jessica is a registered charity supported by agencies, organisations and police forces nationwide committed to raising awareness of postal and telephone scams, educating professionals and protecting vulnerable people from illegal practices. Available from: www.thinkjessica.com/.

Victim Support offer free and confidential support to help people feel safer and move beyond their experience of crime. Available from: www.victimsupport.org.uk/.

Which? Is campaigning for more action to prevent and stop scams. Available from: campaigns.which.co.uk/scams-fraud-safeguard/.

Debt advice such as:

Debt Advice Foundation
www.debtadvicefoundation.org/.

National Debtline
www.nationaldebtline.org/.

Citizens Advice
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/.

Christians Against Poverty
https://capuk.org/.

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