/ Money

Should fraud be a police priority?

A new report has found that when it comes to fraud, the police aren’t even putting their fists up to defend the public. Should it be a higher priority?

The police are fighting a losing battle against fraud.

The watchdog that oversees the performance of the police force, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, found that fraud is often deprioritised against other crimes.

Many forces don’t have enough resource to adequately investigate fraud and, in the instance of one police force, simply file away the overwhelming majority of cases without further investigation.

A fraud epidemic

We are in the midst of a fraud epidemic – around 3.3 million incidents were reported in the past year, and the estimated cost of fraud is in the billions – but it’s clear that the police are struggling to pull together the will and resource to tackle this emerging threat. And they claim there is no strategic leadership from government to help them in their fight against fraud.

Our own research has found that 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved.

In September last year, we found that just one in four cases that have been reported to Action Fraud in the past four years were forwarded onto local police forces, and we estimated that less than 1% of the those have been solved, and 3% were still being investigated.

Despite the fact that fraud and cyber-crime offences are now 10 times more common than burglary, it is clearly not getting the attention it desperately needs.

Just two weeks ago, the banking industry reported that criminals successfully stole £1.2bn through fraud and scams.

On the pages of Which? magazine and online, we repeatedly follow the stories of people who’ve lost life-changing sums of money to scams.

Victims left feeling abandoned

Too often, victims are left feeling abandoned and confused as investigations drag on with little sign of progress.

To show they are serious about winning the battle against increasingly sophisticated fraudsters, the government, police and banking industry must establish a more coordinated approach and make scams a top priority.

This is a threat to public safety – failing to stem tsunami of scams we face will make beating the fraudsters near-impossible in the future.

Do you think fraud should be a higher priority for the police?

Comments
Ronnie says:
6 April 2019

I was done for what seems like a small sum after reading what is happening out there.
I told the fraudsters bank his name and details but the bank said sorry but he is a customer.
When he moved house, I wrote to the Local Council area he lived in and using the Freedom of Information form hoping they might help. I called the man a fraudster, so the jobs worth told me they could not do anything for me. I won’t name all the people I’ve been in touch with there’s too many.
This guy is on LinkedIn, he calls himself a Director, another Walter Mitty
Ron.

Jean Page says:
6 April 2019

Whilst i do agree that detection and prevention of fraud should be given a higher priority by the police, banks and other financial institutions, it can not take priority over life and limb emergencies. I appreciate the police force is short of manpower and should be given the resources by the government to provide adequate services to deal with all types of crime,; maybe the police could prioritise their efforts on fraud rather than the easy money of catching motorists doing 4 miles over the speed limit!

Jack Dunn says:
6 April 2019

Not so many years ago fraud was considered to be a rich mans crime in some case it still is .
But the advent of modern technology has opened it up so that we can all play the game
if we are smart enough. Resources will never be made available to combat the crime.
Too many competing priority claims Like the war in the Yemen.

.

John Wiggins says:
6 April 2019

Fraudsters usually need bank accounts. It should be imperative on the banks that they know their customers. Where a fraud has been committed it should be the bank that opened the account that should be required to make redress to the defrauded party. The banks would very quickly tighten up their processes to ensure that criminals did not open accounts without proper verifiable identity.

Gerald Allan Smith says:
6 April 2019

Government resources are very stretched and hence they need to raise more funds by increasing the funds taken from the top earners and bonuses to reduce the increasing differential in remuneration of different levels in our society

MG says:
7 April 2019

My 19 year old clicked on a competion web site and excepted the terms and conditions giving his card number. He had over £200 taken from his account at a time when he had been made redundant. The cunning of these people was revealed by the CO-OP Bank who said the terms and conditions allow them to draw money from more than one of there (presumably) fraudulent companies. So on going they withdrew small amounts, then bigger amounts. The CO-OP were well aware of the companies scam and refunded the amounts but it took at least two new cards and I have to say that the co-op were a bit disjointed in that different people gave differing advice and action.
Yes! His fault but younger people tend to be inpatient and trusting. (Obvious, but read the terms and conditions)
He also had a a scamer try to take control of his P.C. when he had trouble up loading Norton Security. He googled a help line which posed as Norton line and he let the guy take control of his pc who said yes you have a virus and it will cost£50 to correct.
I,decorating overheard this and swiftly ended the call. My local PC repair said, new hard drive, don’t turn on the PC until you do!
A non fraudulent company will never charge you he said. I knew this man very well and his company had integrity ( family illness has closed it) he went on to say this happens all the time and especially with the old, hundreds and even thousands of pounds are paid to these fraudsters.
Interestingly the fraud department at the bank said if you have used your cards to purchase things for him, renew them. I then had to renew several cards which was inconvenient. He said they may take a month to use their tec which reads every key you have pressed to enable them to use your cards. They take a month as they have so many to work through!
My younger son went on a web site to buy pills for his then interest in weight lifting, very cheap he was lured in. Long story short, they took over a hundred pound and the bank knew of them but my son embarrassed did not tell us of his mistake until 8 months later. Too late to recover the money, however the bank (Co-OP) did try and my son to his credit confronted them by phone and told them he would report them to Trading Standards , which he did, there attitude changed but because of the length of time they are basically covered legally ( not morally) and would not give him the money back.
Redirect funds to this cause for the police? We are in austerity are we not!

DerekP says:
7 April 2019

MG, thanks for those real life examples.

I’ve also seen several examples were friends have signed up online for things like credit check and referencing services, only to discover they had signed on for paid-for services with a significant monthly subscription.

The fake Norton helpline example is also a classic PC tech support example (as illustrated in many of Jim Browning’s YouTube videos). Arguably, even your trusted local PC support guy scammed, or at least up-sold, you there – I’d expect that a full hard disc wipe by a competent person would normally clean up any potential infections on a hard drive.

Us cynical experienced folk usually know that, if any offer sounds to good to be true, then it’s probably suspect in some way, but an awful lot of other folk readily fall prey of many internet bargain and special offers that aren’t really what they first seem to be.

Philip says:
7 April 2019

Personnel – The police need respect, they need officers on the beat talking to people gaining their respect and picking up information.

I think superior intelligence is a more efficient and productive method of catching fraudsters.

Yet again, Which? treats the end result instead of tackling the root of a problem.

Following the links from a recent Which? press release on rail delay compensation I came across the total amount of compensation paid out between 2009 – 2018:
£274,293,000
Plus the money spent on setting up and running the schemes, staff training and customer awareness.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/744567/2017-2018-passenger-compensation-figures.pdf
Just think how many rail problems could have been solved permanently with that money instead of reimbursing from just 2 minutes delay. Less problems = less unhappy customers = less compensation. Compensation doesn’t grow on magic money trees and will be paid for with increased fares.
https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/which-response-to-latest-orr-delay-compensation-claims-statistics/
https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/40838/delay-compensation-claims-factsheet-1819-Q3.pdf

Bank fraud reimbursement will ultimately be paid for by customers.
Slow broadband compensation will be ultimately be paid for by customers.
Airline compensation will be ultimately be paid for by customers.

Now Which? are calling for more police to tackle fraud. Fraud is a crime that does need to be solved, but if potential victims were more aware in the first place, less would become actual victims. Time and time again people come here with their tales of woe after they have been caught out giving the impression they have never heard of these scams before.

Should money be spent on providing more police to solve the growing number of crimes or spend it educating the public to reduce the number of crimes and victims ?

Even if police do catch fraudsters, victims rarely get their money back, so the key is to educate people to not get caught out in the first place.

I get fed up with hearing the continued moaning about scams and fraud, when there is so much that could be done. A paltry fine for the few scammers that get caught is not going to solve the problem.

Which? should be tackling scams from the bottom up, working with government and other companies on ways to educate people to stop them becoming victims. Teach people to question and research anything that sounds too good to be true.

Telecoms companies need to be held to account as to why they are not identifying and stopping scammers especially from abroad. Stop unused and unpaid-for UK phone numbers that are being used for number spoofing traverse the phone networks. Thousands of calls from the same source are likely to be up to no good, so get them identified and stopped. It is disgusting that BT get away with selling call blockers and making money from people’s misery when they could be doing so much more.

Scam education has to be advertised in ways people will take notice of and TV is going to be the best form of communication.

TV programmes are sponsored by companies, so a condition of sponsorship could be to sponsor a scam ad or bank fraud.

Scam scenarios acted out by kids would get people’s attention. They have imagination, they might involve and educate older members of their families if they want dressing-up costumes, they would be educating themselves to be more scam savvy. They would be cheap to produce and it wouldn’t take long to acquire a large repertoire to keep people’s interest going.

Vulnerable folk need to be identified and safeguards put in place for their protection. Doctors notify DVLA instantly when an older person is not fit to drive, so ways could be found to protect people when they are no longer capable of making rational decisions.

When are we going to stop talking about fraud and scams and start doing something positive to stop them and prevent people becoming victims? Yes, fraud should be a higher priority for the police, but they need a molehill of fraud to tackle not a mountain, and money needs to be spent reducing that mountain, tackling the root of the problem and not just treating the end result.


.
Now if that was acted out by kids it could make it fun as well as educational.

The kids could dress up as old folks, make a shark costume, be a novice using a computer, relate the tale in a way everybody can understand………

alfa, I join your frustration. One commenter was recently “censured” for not sympathising with a particular slant on debt.

I, and others, have continually suggested education and tools to help people understand and deal with finances. We’ve pointed out the dangers of a compensation culture – we all pay for it and it might well reduce, in some people, the need to take care and sensible personal responsibility,

Some have succumbed to greed – higher financial returns offered than are the norm and expect to have sympathy when it turns out to be a con.

I totally agree. Which? should be concentrating on methods of prevention, providing links to good advice, persuading banks to educate their customers and give them tools to help control their finances, put limits on transactions less capable people can do ………….

Oh, its raining here so can’t get in the garden 🙁

I wonder if this is because we – as a species – have difficulty comprehending causation in complex systems. We tend to think about cause and effect as a one-to-one relationship: A causes B. In reality, it is always a set of things happening (or not happening) that cause another set of things to happen (or not happen).

But I completely agree that Which? needs to switch from always looking at consequence to examining cause. People have to be made aware of risk, but then that’s something few journalists seem to comprehend.

Hey Malcolm,

I’d like to address the point regarding being “censured,” as this wasn’t what happened with the earlier comment. There was no objection to the opinion being expressed; instead it was the tone and language used – how the comment was worded read as potentially causing offense, hence it getting moved temporarily into moderation. We want the Conversation to continue being a friendly and welcoming community where people–be them community members, guest authors, and so on–can be open and share their experience of any topic, including difficult ones. Being considerate of the experiences and views of others is huge in creating this space, especially when our opinions may differ.

With regards to scams, we are doing a number of the actions you mention. Our Scams campaign forced action from the banks to better protect people. To date this has been signed by 415,046 people: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/scams-fraud-safeguard/

We also regularly publish warnings with useful links on how to spot and report scams. Here are some recent examples:
https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/tv-licence-scam-email-fairtrade-spoof/
https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/dvla-vehicle-tax-payment-failed-scam/
https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/argos-number-spoofing-scam-warning/

All of this advice and more is also available on our Consumer Rights pages, which are completely free to access and available to everyone:

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/l/internet-scams

Jon, I am pretty sensitive to some types of comments but saw nothing amiss with Ian’s. as far as I am concerned, asking him to reword it amounts to what I suggested. That is my view, and you have yours 🙂

I agree you publish convos on current scams, but that is not the point I was hoping to get across. We need a general effort to educate people about how better to deal with problems before they happen – the education bit. Like publicising detailed advice on keeping out of debt; a critique and link to the MAS would help. Instead we seem to so often publicise stories of how individuals have been caught out, sometimes by no fault of their own, but sometimes with their own behaviour.

We do need to try to do some positive things in my book – instil the need for people to behave responsibly, accept it when they make mistakes, and not expect to be bailed out if they lose out; not expect automatic compensation when they have not lost out in any significant way as we all end up paying for that; and certainly work with institutions to improve their systems in the light of experience, make them responsible when they have been negligent and failed their customers, but not continually criticise them if they are doing what they can to address problems.

As a consumer I want to see the whole story behind these sorts of issues, not just one side of the argument. That does lead, if we are not careful, to giving a misleading impression.

Jon, can you honestly say that any action taken by Which? has significantly reduced any type of fraud?

I am not saying what Which? does is wrong and it is good to air scams on the convos, but it just isn’t enough and progress on tackling scams and fraud is far too slow. Which? also has a relatively small audience and a huge effort needs to be made if fraud is to be reduced.

Malcolm pointed out the dangers of a compensation culture – we all pay for it and it might well reduce, in some people, the need to take care and sensible personal responsibility. I agree with him and would rather get higher interest on my savings than bail out someone who has not taken sensible precautions because they know they won’t lose out.

You may be interested in a list of nuisance calls convos I collated back in 2015. Between August 2010 and December 2015, we had 69 convos with 8305 comments discussing nuisance calls that included scams and fraud .

How many of these are still going on:

Nuisance calls crackdown: the progress so far – 300 comments
Calling time on nuisance calls in Scotland – 56
Have you had nuisance calls promising to stop nuisance calls? – 8
Scam watch: have you been called by a wine investment scam? – 8
Do you get nuisance calls to your mobile phone? – 88
Trade in personal data: it’s time to put a limit on consent – 85
We need action to cut off fake phone numbers – 46
Action needs to heat up on cold calls – 84
Scam watch: computer scammers scared me into paying £500 – 37
Has someone tried to fool you with a pension scam – 8
Do you report nuisance texts using SPAM? – 38
Watch out for scam calls about your pension – 30
New nuisance calls app helps you get your own back – 15
More nuisance calling companies to face prosecution – 29
Scam watch: Google Maps listing scam – 9
Watch out for phone scammers as ‘vishing’ soars – 13
Ed Vaizey: what the Government’s doing about cold calls – 103
Can you see the number that’s call you? – 107
FFA UK: beware of ‘number spoofing’ fraudsters – 31
Scam watch: ‘financial services’ cold callers – 5
Do nuisance calls cause you annoyance or anxiety? – 475
How many nuisance calls do you get a week? – 78
Scam watch: dodgy cold caller offers – 34
A call for evidence: how do you consent to marketing – 81
Scam watch: nuisance callers pretending to be the TPS – 18
Nuisance calls: big-name brands can be to blame – 48
Scam watch: look out for hoax callers – 36
Ed Vaizey: What we’re doing to stop nuisance calls – 17
Victory! Government announces a Nuisance Calls Action Plan – 43
Have you been cold called by a TPS Scam? – 273
The BT phone scam continues… – 37
Cracking down on rogue claims handlers and shoddy service – 2
Regulators must punish more nuisance callers’ – 32
Have you been called by a “BT technical support” phone scam – 304
TalkTalk: why we launched a nuisance calls blocking service – 61
New nuisance calls report rings in the changes – 37
Mike Crockart MP: support my Bill to stop nuisance calls – 17
Your view: purrrlease stop nuisance calling – 29
Lee Beaumont calls cold callers’ bluff with an 0871 number – 63
Nuisance calls & texts: the government has heard your calls – 128
Don’t let nuisance callers get away with it – complain – 87
Watch out for the pension liberation monster – 1
Nuisance calls & texts: we can’t hear you Ed Vaizey – 13
Companies that ignore the TPS are treading a fine line – 25
Are nuisance callers branching out to the Green Deal? – 9
Your view: no more nuisance calls – 37
Mistaken identity – ever felt misled by a caller – 54
More than a nuisance: the serious side of nuisance calls – 89
Your view: will we ever get rid of ‘Microsoft’ scam calls? – 37
The true cost of the ‘Microsoft support” scam call – 120
MPs, pick our Bill to tackle nuisance calls and texts – 28
How do you handle nuisance callers? – 140
Nuisance calls and texts: we’re dialling up the pressure – 66
We need tougher rules to crack down on claims handlers – 4
Your view: all hung up on nuisance calls and texts – 32
We’re calling time on nuisance calls and texts – 2234
Should we have to pay to stop nuisance calls? – 73
Mike Crockart MP: we need a one-stop shop for nuisance calls – 51
Making a noise about silent phone calls – 82
Wake-up call for nuisance phone calling companies – 42
Fed up with pesky spam texts? Let’s get rid of them – 21
How can we cut nuisance calls for good? – 820
A phone call to action – no more nuisance sales calls – 612
Why it’s time to cut off the technical support scammers – 158
The ‘Microsoft phone scam’ simply won’t hang up – 303
Microsoft late to raise cold scam alarm – 79
How do cold callers know so much about you? – 106
Are security software scams blown out of proportion? – 5
Time to give cold callers the cold shoulder – 64
Total Conversations – 69
Total Comments – 8305

https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/end-nuisance-calls-crackdown-task-force-progress/#comment-1426016

A Retired IT Professional says:
8 April 2019

Agree Alfa., particularly “Yet again, Which? treats the end result instead of tackling the root of a problem.”
TBH I was more annoyed than usual with Which? as the article is superficial and abysmally failed to get to the real root of the problem.
IMHO the root includes the speed & scale of companies moving services online alongside so little protection for customers, citizens. Govts for decades have addressed business interests rather than those of consumers, failing to educate the population and failing to ensure legislation is update in line with these changes.
Come on Which? journalistts … do a bit of indepth investigation & analysis…. So damned easy to point the finger at an underfunded police whilst letting politicians off the hook for enabling citizens to be exploited. The hitory is there… For example look at how quick govts were to look at IPR, Fed Against Software Theft established in 1984, but an effective organisation for tackling online child abuse ? Well it’s a huge problem but CEOP was established 2006!! And has v few resources… As a grandparent I find those govt priorities abhorrent.

So is it just all talk alfa and little action? I’m astonished at the number of Convos you’ve listed. What purpose?

I have found around 11 Convos directly involving the Whirlpool / Indesit problem, plus another 7 related ones. The only outcome was a court edict that Whirlpool should tell customers (and they don’t know how to contact many) to unplug them when not being supervised.

I think we need to become proactive and properly assess issues, come up with constructive proposals and then work with whoever to develop a strategy and remedy. The “agencies” need help; they seem to have no sense of urgency. When did we push for a product recall system that is effective? Around 4 years ago. What proposals have been put to the OPSS to hurry this along…..??

Hey @alfa, the Nuisance calls and text campaign in 2016 is an example of an action that is continuing to have an impact. This has led to changes in the law and fines and bans for companies that continue to make nuisance calls. You can see the full campaign history here: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/nuisance-calls/.

This isn’t just Which? though – this is the community in action: the idea for this campaign came from the Which? Conversation. Voices from the community were at the heart of the campaign and, with more than a half million signatures on the petition and people still reporting scam calls via the reporting tool, people are continuing to take action.

It is frustrating that this problem still exists, I certainly appreciate that, but it is progress, and with all of your help, we can and will continue to take action on it.

Jon, it is worth Which? thinking about comments that are made on their approach and asking whether there might be something constructive in them, and some substance. Which? does a lot of good but their are some things some think they might do differently, or do better. We may be wrong, but they are not frivolous contributions.

As I have said before, when we get into discussions about Which?’s policy my view is a Members-only forum would be a good place to have an open and frank discussion out of the public eye. I don’t want casual visitors to misunderstand. A pity we don’t have such a forum (yet) now the one we had was closed down. 🙂

Hi Jon, it is very noble of you to defend things that happened in Which? long before you were part of it, but fining the end result is not going to solve the problem of fraud and scammers. Signatures are not hard to get, who wouldn’t sign a petition demanding action on nuisance phone calls?

Three of the most recent fines were for PPI cold calls which although a nuisance are not fraud.

It is real fraud and scammers that need to be tackled, the foreign phone calls, the spoofed phone numbers, protecting the vulnerable, but most of all education, so people think scam before pot of gold.

I agree strongly with Alfa and Malcolm.

Apart from general agreement that the police should give fraud a high priority, this Conversation hasn’t actually answered the question: What level of priority? The reason it comes down the list after terrorism, murder, rape, domestic violence, stabbing, drug dealing, is that the police are well-trained and fairly good at catching the culprits in those sort of cases, but with fraud they are out of their comfort zone. Fast cars and helicopters won’t help them. They need to spend hours in an office on computers and telephones analysing zillions of data so it’s not surprising that is low priority casework.

Somebody queried why the police appeared to be easily capable of prosecuting drivers who go 4 mph over the speed limit but can’t arrest a scammer who has swiped hundreds or thousands of pounds from their bank account; leaving aside the possibility that the scammer is not even in the UK, that the operation is invisible until the victim becomes aware of it, and the likelihood that the traffic offence was enforced remotely and automatically, the simple fact is that the sort of police officer who can deal with a driving contravention is unlikely to be the kind who can track and trace on-line sophisticated fraudsters. In any case we can’t allow the police to take their foot off the pedal on traffic offences otherwise our highways would become dreadfully unsafe. It’s a question of getting the right level of resources in place and then the right balance of implementation. Until we have done the former, speculating about the latter is not worth while.

Kevin says:
8 April 2019

Hi
I forwarded an email from HMRC, subject "Have you set up your personal tax account yet?", to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.
The source was:
govdelivery.com
and it had embedded links to:
govdelivery.com and granicus.com,
these are off the shelf domains registered with godaddy, that anyone could register. Like a phishing fraud would use.
It's trivially easy to set up proper verifiable subdomains (under gov.uk) for this kind of stuff, but they can't be bothered or are too 'unprofessional'.

HMRC confirmed it was genuine, but didn't respond or comment on the suspicious domains, and had a link to email helpdesk@ir-efile.gov.uk for "technical queries".
An followup email to the helpdesk referred me back to their phishing team. There's no useable feedback capability on the HMRC website either. Catch 22, but they do have a link for contacting them via Facebook or Twitter. That's right, they fund a team of social network drones to flap their digital lips about a load of meaningless unattributable waffle.

The people running these online services have no genuine interest in providing a secure and convenient service for the public. They are more interested in shiny nonesense that looks good on their LinkedIn profile.

A Retired IT Professional says:
8 April 2019

Yes, I think more MUST be done. BUT, lets tackle the politicians first, rather than blame the police.

IMHO the POLITCAL response is of greatest need. Legislative changes are necessary. In addition there is a pressing case for better funding for the Home Office & Police, as well as changes to the statutory arrangement, and requirements upon all online and mobile service providers. For example, to force all companies to provide an effective duty of care to all customers / consumers.
For instance, DATA: It should not be legal to harvest, store, share, transmit and use data without explicit consent. It should not be legal to gather more than the basic information necessary. Data held should not be for longer than necessary, eg the period of the transaction & validation. This approach necessitates bringing the Data Protection Act up to date, with the express aim of protecting consumer.
For example requiring a change to protective defaults for all online accounts, eg no auto-share default); banks and financial institutions having to repay any monies fraudulently obtained – with a tighter definition of fraud.
SERVICES & CHARGES: online service providers – ISPs, mobile phone companies, app developers / owners etc … it should be illegal for these organisations to establish charges against accounts without a three step procedure – request, approve &confirmation – that includes an explicit contract to the customer with a ‘cooling off’ period. Apps & games companies, insurance companies etc etc should not be able to charge an account from a simple click on a link. Bank & mobile phone companies should not be able to legally implement these type of charges (many are currently considered legal, ie it’s more than what is today defined as fraud.)

EXPLOITING THE VULNERABLE / LESS KNOWLEDGEABLE: Part of the problem with the current digital-market situation is that there is a significant proportion of the population who are effectively being disenfranchised, left vulnerable to scams etc as they do not have sufficient knowledge to detect crimial and inappropriate / exploitative behaviour. I know of a number of friends who have lost money through online scams, dodgy emails & by clicking something that they did not understand would incur costs.

WHO? A STRATEGIC RESPONSE: The nature of online threats demand a collective response (investigation, corrective actione etc) as reaction by decentralised local police can only be expensive and ineffective. Skills to be effective lie in groups like GCHQ, not local police. Best tools will be digital, eg identifying and closing down the IP addresses that originate the threats. The tools are already out there for those who understand them but need to become much more mainstream. ISP providers shold be prosecuted for not tackiling scam emails & for retransmitting them. The tools do exist to identify such emails, their dodgy links, the real originating senders & ip addresses. Why are BT, Sky, TalkTalk, etc etc not required by law to use such tools to prevent retransmitting such malicious communications?
For my money there needs to be a new online body, under the Home Office, who tackle these issues & crimes nationally. Their remit should include nationwide education of the public, particularly those more vulnerable. They could work with charities, community groups etc to help prevent exploitation and address vulnerability to online fraud & exploitation. A better educated user population would reduce pressure on police forces who have significanlty more serious online to address.
in my opinion the police are seriously underfunded for thie rise in online crime. Amongst these crime types I consider that they should have online child abuse at the top of their priority.

OK – I’ll stop…. Apologies for the rant.

No apologies necessary, I have had a few rants myself, not that it does much good.

I agree with nearly everything you say especially about those who have had the digital age thrust upon them with no training, and picking it up as they go.

Data harvesting should also be illegal, but the introduction of GDPR has highlighted just how much personal info is gathered unless we jump through very unreasonable hoops to reject it. Every operating system should have had an easy to use program/app that gave us total control of our data.

None of this is new, sadly; since 1996 when the first W? Online forum was launched (a pioneering move in its day offering email, content and webspace) no offer of help by those of us willing to make it has been accepted.

And we’re not privy to the decision-making processes which determine what is going to be featured, what will be the next campaign, what is taking place behind the scenes – or much of anything, really, This despite nominally being a charity and having a council of elected members whose role it is to oversee the organisation.

Which? is rather similar to the EU; it’s extremely flawed and lacking in transparency but simply leaving it means we can’t make it any better. But when you‘ve been trying to do that for more than 22 years it becomes a bit frustrating.

Which? seems to have an inexhaustible supply of inertia. Odd, really.

Percy Mark says:
8 April 2019

I do not think the burden of this problem should fall to the police but should be placed fair and square on the tech companies which provide the vehicles for this type of fraud and at the banks who went along with the facilities for their own benefits far too readily. Directors of these companies should be made responsible and made to pay for losses suffered by innocent members of the public. They would soon tighten up the safeguards.

S BATTLE says:
8 April 2019

the money from these crimes go to fuel more crime. this cancer has to be removed

Two points.
Fundamental to preventing fraud is the establishment of ‘true identity’ A National identity registrar, which could be used by individuals to confirm the identity of Individuals and companies, would be beneficial.
The incidence of telephone fraud could be considerable reduced if all phones of users of the Telephone preference service could include the ability to directly alert the service providers of unwanted ‘advertising calls’ so the sources could be blocked, thus protecting vulnerable people from the threat of fraud.

Dave Holden says:
10 April 2019

The gouvernement need to put in hand á robuste compensation système for victimes. Follow the money! Any Bank in á chain of transactions handling fraudulently obtientained money should be légally’y required to Fully compensate the victime/s. Forget the fraudsters, they can only operate through the banking systèmes. Fine the Banks into getting their shit together – á few billions in fines and á month or two without obscène bonusés will do the trick!

Something I rarely do is go on Twitter, but this morning I followed a Which? press release and noticed a program on TV last week about fraud with Gareth Shaw appearing in it.

If anyone is interested, it can be downloaded from ITV hub – program name/time: Tonight, Thu 4th April.
Sky says it is available until 4th May.

Thanks for visiting Twitter – ours is good https://twitter.com/WhichUK/ 😉

Yes, Gareth did a great job on the show

when it comes down to it….the cost of repairing it when it goes wrong, is deemed more acceptable than the cost of making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.

Ann Jackson says:
15 April 2019

Fraudsters always seem to get very light sentences even when they have been so cruel as to cheat people out of their life savings

Terry Kerfoot says:
16 April 2019

All too easy to be taken in when off guard. Only deterrent as in so many areas is a realistic fear of being caught and punished – severely.

Chris says:
17 April 2019

Fraud is also a crime, please bring policing back into normal life. We need the police, we need to give them enough money to police our streets ,stop knife crime & fraud. Police should have more status in society & more salary.