Personal Finance | 15 March 2024

Watch Now: How to catch a fraudster

Our latest fraud event featured an expert panel discussing how they bring fraudsters to justice, detailing ongoing threats and tips to help protect yourself.

Our previous fraud events have highlighted just how devastating scams can be and why protection and prevention have never been more important. But is it time for the criminals to be worried?

Our recent digital event ‘How to Catch a Fraudster’ brought together a top team of financial crime experts to explain how they’re catching the scammers.

Video player requires JavaScript enabled. You can watch this video here:

The answers to some of the questions received during the event are available here.

Video player requires JavaScript enabled. You can watch this video here:

The answers to some of the questions received during the event are available here.

Our panel

Our Head of Regulatory Advisory, Alex Webster, was joined by:

  • Tom Barford, Branch Commander of the Complex Financial Crime Teams, National Crime Agency (NCA)
  • Tom Caleb, Fraud Threat Lead at the NCA within the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC)
  • DC Jeremy Boxall of City of London Police, Dedicated Card and Payment Unit
  • Lorne Wiggin, Managing Investigator, NatWest Group.

Together they highlighted some historic cases and discussed the tactics they use to uncover and trap criminals. They also shared their learnings and experience to advise on how best to protect yourself from fraud.


The experts discussed

  • Operation Parasite – how the police caught a criminal who was using ‘smishing’ messages offering covid vaccines to capture financial details. They apprehended the suspect, T Gallagher, following a raid and with the aid of their sniffer dog, Fred, who was trained to find SIM cards and mobile phones. T Gallagher is currently serving a four-year sentence.
  • How there’s been a significant effort from the government downwards to increase resources in countering fraud.
  • How they’ve seen a recent drop in frauds of around 13% – though high harm frauds are rising.
  • £2.1 billion is the current estimated cost of fraud against individuals.
  • Almost one in two crimes against the British public is now fraud.
  • The global spread of fraud call centres – run like businesses – set up in Africa, Europe, South Asia and South-East Asia.

Their advice to help keep yourself safe –

  • There’s no shame in being a victim of fraud – reporting to the authorities and sharing your situation with your private banker is the best way to help prevent future fraud against yourself and others.
  • Always report fraud attempts, current or past, to Action Fraud who inform the police’s intelligence unit and help bring fraudsters to justice.
  • Set-up and use a challenge word with Coutts to help protect yourself from fraudsters pretending to be from the bank.

How to prevent staff fraud internally within your business

Look out for people who are:

  • Tempted – They’ve spotted a loophole they could exploit
  • Motivated – They need money
  • Feel they’re self-justified – They may feel they’re deserving of a pay rise or a bonus which they didn’t receive

And make sure you understand the systems your employees are using and sanity check your decisions.

If you fear you may be subject to fraud or are concerned about any aspect of a situation in which you feel vulnerable then please reach out to your private banker or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424.

If you receive an unexpected call claiming to be from Coutts ask for your ‘challenge word’. If the caller cannot give this to you hang up straightaway. 

All calls with Coutts are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.


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