Fraud webinars

by Mark Rowe

The December 2020 and January 2021 print editions of Professional Security magazine will feature fraud – already the number one volume crime, yet – to list only the most visible sign of its shortcomings – ever since the first lockdown in March, the website of the fraud reporting line Action Fraud has stated that its call centre is offering only a ‘reduced service’. A recent webinar by the business body Resilience First heard that the covid-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for economic crime. Webinar attendees like others who have had cause to seek to use the Action Fraud service had nothing good to say about its service.

Action Fraud recently launched advice for safe online shopping ahead of Christmas. It reported that most scams last year involved mobile phones and electronics, so it advised that consumers always shop with official retailers and don’t be enticed by deals that seem too good to be true. Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “Where possible, use a credit card when shopping online as this will offer you more protection if anything goes wrong.”

The financial besides psychological impact of fraud on victims can be great, and victims are at some risk of repeat victimisation. Meanwhile, the police response – from taking initial reports of the crime, to supporting victims – has historically left fraudsters believing that they can offend with little chance of apprehension. If, as the Resilience First webinar heard, most of the data for investigating fraud lies with the private sector, how best can society respond?

That’s the background for the latest webinar in the twice a week series by Prof Martin Gill of consultancy Perpetuity Research, under the OSPAs (Outstanding Security Performance Awards) banner.

What are the merits and drawbacks of current public and private sector efforts to tackle fraud? What are the barriers to tackling fraud more effectively? And what are the best routes to more effectively channelling the various efforts to tackling fraud?

Martin’s panellists tomorrow are Keith Ditcham, Acting Director/Senior Research Fellow, Organised Crime and Policing at the defence and security think-tank RUSI; Alex Rothwell – Head of Fraud Operations, Detective Chief Superintendent at City of London Police, the UK’s lead force for fraud which is in charge of Action Fraud; the criminologist of ‘white-collar’ crime, Dr Janice Goldstraw-White, of GWAssociates; and the former Derbyshire chief constable Mick Creedon, now of Altia-ABM.

A related webinar on Thursday covers asset confiscations; the invited speakers are Aiden Larkin of Asset Reality in partnership with Altia-ABM; Marie-Claire Amuah – Senior Associate at the specialist private prosecution law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon (EMM); Simon Davis – Barrister at Law at St Philips Chambers; and Mick Beattie – National Coordinator for the financial crime portfolio at the national police chiefs body the NPCC.

See also the EMM blog.

You can sign up for free to the webinars at You can also watch past webinars that reach back to March 31. Martin is due to keep going with the webinars until at least December 17, when the topic is ‘reflecting on 2020: what have been the security success stories and what have been the security failures?’.

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