We are the voice of insurance and long-term savings | Contact us

Partners in Crime Prevention

Angela McLaren.JPGBy Commissioner Angela McLaren

It feels like fraud has turned a corner. A strategy is coming over the hill and fraud now features on the Strategic Policing Requirement. These are signals that fraud is being taken more seriously than ever before. And why wouldn’t it be. We know that someone is more likely to be a victim of fraud than any other crime type. And we know that fraud has a profoundly distressing impact.

All types of fraud are cruel: from the person who thinks they’ve found love and is helping their partner with a loan, to people who believe they’re helping the police or their bank and are tricked into moving money to the criminal. Our call handlers in the Action Fraud reporting centre sometimes find themselves on the phone to people who haven’t even told their families that they have been defrauded, through an undeserved sense of shame. Some callers are in crisis and suicidal, our call handlers compassionately keep them engaged on the call whilst we arrange an immediate response to wherever they are in the UK. Fraud is not a victimless crime.

And all fraud has an effect on society. Turning to insurance fraud, you will all know very well that fraud is never simply taking money from a company who “can afford it”. People who set themselves up as ghost brokers put people at risk, leaving them and their potential victims, uninsured. People who commit “crash for cash” fraud push the insurance premiums up for everyone else. Our Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) has been working with partners and social media companies to make it more difficult for fraudsters to operate online, by removing the websites and profiles used to target victims.

And in an investigation context, the IFED team works closely with the other parts of National Lead Force (Fraud Operations and Financial Investigation) to successfully convict fraudsters, including Rajesh Ghedia, a criminal who defrauded investment fraud victims, as well as insurers, and was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison last year.

As the leading police force for fraud: we work closely with partners right across the fraud landscape and provide the link in to policing. We provide specialist help to forces for complex cases and ‘package’ information together to enable other forces to investigate fraud in their force area.  We have co-ordinated the growth of the fraud policing network with new roles dedicated to pursuing fraud offenders and, importantly, stopping fraud in the first place.

And working with partners is key. Fraud is a huge problem: it’s endemic in society. So much so, that no single organisation could possibly hope to be effective in isolation. That is why any response to fraud must include not only law enforcement agencies, but the private sector as well. I couldn’t agree with Mark Allen more when he said in his blog at the end of last year:

“Insurance Fraud is a complex issue that also requires a multi-faceted whole system approach. If we are to continue to make inroads in extinguishing this nefarious threat, it’s vital that insurers continue to support the cross-industry collaborative ventures such as the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.”

But together we can make a difference – indeed, we already are.

Last updated 02/03/2023