National Policing Strategy for the Victims of Fraud
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Policing Strategy for the Victims of Fraud
National Policing Strategy for
the Victims of Fraud
Draft prepared by the National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime April 2015
SUPPORTING THE VICTIMS OF FRAUD
Introduction: This is the National
Policing Strategy for the victims of fraud,
produced by the National Police
Coordinator for Economic Crime
(NPCEC). We are developing this
through the Crime Business Area in
consultation with chief police officers
and their staff. It is part of the national
policing strategy for fraud and is
designed to assist chief officers in
delivering the most appropriate support
to victims of fraud in their community.
This document is best read in the
context of the National Policing Fraud
Strategy which set out the aim of
reducing the impact of fraud (its volume,
value and impact on people). Where
policing failed to protect the community
from fraud it set the objective of
“supporting victims of fraud ensuring
that they receive an appropriate service
from policing in partnership with other
agencies such as Victim Support and
other Government departments (such
as Social Services)”.
Strategy Aim: The aim of this strategy
is to put in place a system that delivers
the appropriate care to victims in a
consistent and responsive manner. We
will ensure that victims of fraud,
individual or corporate, receive the
support they need, at the time they need
it, for as long as they need it with
particular emphasis on addressing the
needs of the vulnerable and repeat
victims. It will do this by putting in place
the mechanisms to:
Identify victims at the point of
reporting (normally to Action
Fraud) and provide initial
assessment of individual need.
Notify them to the appropriate
Provide an escalated response to
meet individual levels of need.
Engage with agencies available to
assist policing in supporting
We will use the above structure to
An initial response to victims.
Ongoing support to victims
dependent on need.
Protection from further
A successful outcome will have been
The national processes are in
place and operating
Force areas have put in place
effective victim care plans
Victims and their champions
nationally, report that their victim
needs are being met.
The need for a strategy for the victims of
fraud in addition to that adopted for
victims of other crime types is two-fold:
Nature of fraud victimisation.
Nature of the operational
response to fraud.
Fraud Victims: A short discussion on
the nature of fraud victims is attached at
Appendix 1. In essence far from being
the victimless crime it is sometimes
claimed to be Fraud often has a
disproportionately high monetary and
emotional impact on victims. To
compound matters, fraud victims are
often repeatedly targeted to the extent
even of victim details being sold from
fraudster to fraudster.
Value A physical acquisitive crime
(though fraud can have a physical
element to it) will, in general, be
limited to those assets, cash or
property, immediately available
and transportable at the time and
location of the crime. In the case
of fraud the victim can be
inveigled over time to give over
their entire savings and indeed
more, regardless of the form in
which the assets were held by the
Emotional Impact There are a
number of aspects of fraud which
can serve to make the emotional
impact of fraud particularly acute.
Guilt Virtually by definition
most victims of fraud will have
unwittingly cooperated in the
offence by transferring assets
to the criminal or compromising
their identity. This can lead to
feelings of guilt,
embarrassment and loss of
victims may perceive others as
viewing them as having brought
the crime upon themselves
through stupidity or greed.
Disappointment Victims will
often have entered the
relationship with the criminal in
order to meet an emotional
need or desire, be it a
financially secure future, the
meeting of religious or social
obligations, a desired product,
meaningful relationship, „fun‟,
commercial revenue etc. Not
only is this need not fulfilled but
the opportunity to meet the
need may be past or now
Trust Again virtually by
definition, the victim will have
placed trust in the fraudster to
provide something in return for
the money they are committing.
At its simplest this will be the
trust of a customer / supplier
relationship but can be more
emotionally complex when, for
example, the fraudster plays on
trust based on professional
standing, authority or a
personal relationship. It may
take victims a period of time to
accept that their trust was
misplaced and this breach of
trust will have an emotional
Operational Response to Fraud
Fraud, particularly when enabled by
cyber technology, is not bound by
geography. As a result the police
response to this has been one in which
fraud is reported centrally, collated,
analysed and then disseminated to the
most appropriate local force for
investigation. This means that unlike
other crime types there is likely to be a
dislocation between the investigating
force and the victim. Furthermore, the
What’s going to happen to us now?
We were so looking forward to it
Who can I trust?
How’s the business going to survive?
No, it can’t be true
They got so angry when I said I changed my mind
I’m so ashamed.
Who can help me?
Why did they pick me?
On no, post has arrived
They’ll get away with it
What if it is genuine?
It’s alright it’ll still come
It’s alright it’ll still come
It’s alright it’ll still come
It’s all my fault
What will my friends say?
How can I have been so stupid?
What am I going to tell the family?
I thought they loved me
I’ll never get my money back
We’ve lost everything
victim of physical crime types receives
a visible police presence including
perhaps a uniformed first response,
crime scene examiner and detective;
they receive the details of a point of
contact, prevention advice (or action if
needed); reassurance and an outline
of the likely process that will be
followed. The victim of fraud is
currently unlikely to receive the same
OUR STRATEGIC RESPONSE
Vision Policing will work with partners
to put in place an effective, affordable
and reliable system to ensure victims
of fraud, individual or corporate,
receive the support they need, at the
time they need it, for as long as they
need it. The system will ensure that
victims of fraud receive a service
which, as a minimum, is comparable to
the best of that provided to victims of
other acquisitive crime. As a result of
the support, victims will be able to
avoid ongoing or repeat victimisation.
Support to victims of fraud will have an
enhanced reputation encouraging
other victims to report crime and
raising confidence in the police
service. There will be a close
correlation between support to victims
and crime prevention (Protect). Crime
intelligence and victimology study by
the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau
(NFIB) will be used to help inform
strategic and tactical inform decisions
about the scale and nature of support
to victims and predict demand.
Design Principles The victim support
system will be constructed with a
number of principles in mind:
Support should commence as
close to the time of the victim
reporting the crime as practicable.
The first priority is to prevent further
harm to the victim.
Response is graduated and tailored
to the needs of the victim with
particular care given to those who
might be vulnerable or likely to
become repeat victims.
The system will meet and where
possible exceed all applicable
directives and codes of practice.
The support system will be
accessible to all, consistent, make
best use of existing resources, be
transparent and quality assured.
The system will normally be initiated at
the point at which a crime is reported
to Action Fraud. The report will be
analysed to establish the victim
identity, the force in whose area the
victim is normally resident (referred to
in this document as “the responsible
force”) and a guide as to the
vulnerability status of the victim. The
responsible force will provide support
to the victim according to need either
directly or through outsourcing to other
agencies or organisations. Where a
case is disseminated NFIB will inform
the responsible force of the identity of
the investigating force and the crime
number. The responsible force will
seek updates from the investigating
force on behalf of the victim (the
proposed joint fraud crime
management system will facilitate
THE END TO END SYSTEM
Report & Identify Victims will
continue to report to Action Fraud
through the call centre, internet or,
exceptionally, though their local
force. Action Fraud will ensure they
record sufficient detail to identify
• Report Received
• Confirm victim identity - identify responsible force
• Assess likely vulnerability status
• Allocate to the responsible force
• Provide guidance as to likely vulnerability status
• Responsible Force establishes contact
• Confirms or amends victims vulnerability status
• Sign-posts appropiate Protect advice
• Action Fraud updates victim re dissemination
• NFIB connect responsible force and investigating force if
• Responsible force updates victim as appropriate
• Responsible force provides or 'commissions' additional support
from other agencies as appropriate
• Victim informed of outcome
• Responsible force confirms victim requirements met
• Victim Feedback
• Learn and improve
the responsible force and to enable
an assessment to be made and
guidance offered as to the level of
vulnerability of the victim.
Allocate NFIB will allocate victims
to the responsible force and
provide guidance as to their likely
vulnerability. This guidance will be
based on individual factors as
recorded by Action Fraud with
added value from local victimology
intelligence (NFIB currently inform
all forces of victims in their area
through Polka but the intention will
be to provide a more direct service
to forces following IT
Contact As soon as practicable
after receiving an NFIB Victim
referral the responsible force will
make contact with the victim in their
area. The nature of the first contact
will be a matter of local policy and
according to need / vulnerability. At
its simplest this may be undertaken
by phone call to the victim though
personal visit will in many cases be
more appropriate. Forces will use a
variety of resources for this
including PCSOs, Special
Constables or other forms of
volunteer staff. The National
Economic Crime Academy is able
to provide training to equip force
staff for this. Contact with the
victim will differ from that for other
crime types in that the aim is not
that of protecting a physical crime
scene or securing evidence.
Instead the priorities for this contact
Protect the victim from
further harm eg establish
that the victim is not still
involved in transactions or
communications with the
criminals (a not unlikely
situation (see „Fraud Victim‟s
Confirm or amend the
assessment of vulnerability
provided by NFIB.
Provide, including by
If vulnerability is such that
the victim needs support
from other agencies inform
the victim that they will be
referred to them.
Follow-up Regardless of action
being undertaken by the
responsible force Action Fraud will
continue to inform victims whether
their crime has been disseminated,
disrupted or retain for intelligence
value at or by 28 days of reporting.
Where a crime has been
disseminated NFIB will share the
details of investigating and
responsible forces. Investigating
forces will update responsible
forces when necessary in line with
the victim code of practice (even-
though technically this may not
apply). Under the NFIB IT
modernisation programme it may
be possible for this to be done
through a common crime
management database available to
all forces and NFIB. Where victim
vulnerability makes it appropriate
the responsible force will provide
further support either directly or
through the commissioning of
outsourced services. The aims of
such follow-up action may include:
Supporting the victim with
the emotional impact of the
Assisting the victim in
securing the information to
begin any restorative action.
Supporting the victim
through any judicial process
Guiding the victim in dealing
with the financial impact of
Helping the victim safely
restore their online identity
Providing tailored crime
prevention advice (available
through the National
Economic Crime Prevention
Conclude The conclude phase
sees the responsible force ensuring
that victim needs have been met
and that they have been made
aware of the final outcome of their
case. It is the intention that
policing‟s support to victims will be
reviewed and improved in line with
victim feedback and the national
Police Coordinator for Economic
Crime will commission the
appropriate surveys and feedback
mechanisms for this.
Purpose Key to policing delivering an
effective and affordable service to
victims is the tailoring of support to
match need. A guide to victim need will
be provided by NFIB through the
Vulnerability Status included in the
notification to forces of a victim in their
Vulnerability Criteria In the context of
victims of fraud „Vulnerability‟ should
be seen as including, but not being
limited to, the general Home Office
definition. Considerable work is being
undertaken within academia, the
Home Office and policing to better
understand and define vulnerability but
it is likely to include:
The financial impact on quality
of life for the victim (eg relative
monetary value to the victim
rather than absolute figure)
The emotional impact
The likelihood of the victim
being repeatedly targeted
How Assessed Initial assessment of
vulnerability will be undertaken at
Action Fraud / NFIB. This will be a
largely automated process based on
the answers provided when victims
report either on line or through the
Action Fraud call centre. The
Economic Crime Victim Care Unit
project conducted in London at the
beginning of 2015 identified a number
of indicators of vulnerability, these will
be developed further. It is intended
that further shading can be provided
by overlaying national and local
victimology data on the individual
cases. This would enable forces to be
informed for example that whilst an
individual may not currently be a
repeat victim their demography,
location and the type of fraud to which
they have fallen victim makes them
more vulnerable to repeat
victimisation. The vulnerability status
attached to a victim by NFIB is an
initial guide and the responsible force
will confirm or amend it at first contact
with the victim and subsequently. A
vulnerability status model might take
the form illustrated in the table below:
Table 1: Indicative Vulnerability Status Model
VS1 Not a repeat victim and no indication of particular vulnerability.
The reported crime has had limited financial or emotional impact.
Not particularly likely to be a repeat victim. Most victims will fall
into this category.
VS2 A repeat victim or likely to be a subject of repeat victimisation.
The reported crime has, however, had limited financial or
VS3 The victim has experienced significant financial or emotional
impact but has the capacity to self-help to a large extent.
VS4 The victim has experienced significant financial or emotional
impact and is unable to recover from the crime without
Tailored Response The local
response to victims will be guided by
the vulnerability status and delivered
according to local policy. In some force
areas the entirety of victim care will be
provided „in house‟ while others may
outsource it completely. It is
anticipated that most forces will
conduct first contact themselves and
then contract-out follow-up support
where the victim needs it. Likely
responses are suggested in Table 2
Table 2: Indicative Response Model
STATUS LIKELY RESPONSE
VS1 „1st Contact‟ by phone. Updates as case progresses.
Contact by personal visit. Ensure victim understands how they
became a repeat victim and provision of appropriate prevention
advice (normally through „signposting‟ or generic prevention
Contact‟ by personal visit. Signposting to appropriate
agencies and sources of support. Follow-up visit to check
Contact‟ by personal visit. Referral for specialist support (eg
appropriate financial advice, charities, local authority, victim
support organisation etc)
The detail required to put this strategy
into practice will be developed
nationally by Policing‟s Crime
Business Area through the working
groups of the Economic Crime
Portfolio. There will be wide
consultation with relevant national
agencies and other areas of policing.
Local forces and Police and Crime
Commissioners will, of course,
continue to develop their own local
response, guided by the strategy.
SUPPORTING THE VICTIMS OF FRAUD – ACADEMIC STUDY
Introduction This short paper was developed by the National Fraud Academy
drawing on previous academic research into the nature of fraud victimology. Further
academic research into the nature of fraud victims and the appropriate response to
their needs has been commissioned by the City of London.
Are fraud victims any different from victims of other crimes?
Most people would refer to fraud as simply a theft committed through trickery or
deceit. Although this may be correct when considering the application of the law and
the classification or typology of the offence, it would be wholly inappropriate to
consider this classification when devising an effective strategy to support victims. In
this regard the response provided to victims is often misdirected by not taking time to
understand the methodology used in the commission of the fraud.
From a modus operandi perspective, rather than comparing fraud to theft, a more
appropriate comparison may be violent and predatory offending. By analysing and
comparing the criminal methodologies, certain „cyber savvy‟ predatory offenders will
assume a false identity and then use it to create a false online profile. Using this
profile, they then identify potential targets, engaging with them, building trust,
grooming them through a process of social engineering until sufficient trust has been
built to follow through with the criminal act. When the target is finally victimised, this
is not the end of the criminal conduct, the offender will often have other targets at
various stages of the social engineering spectrum in preparation for victimisation.
This form of predatory offending is classified as a „live crime‟, where the threat of
harm is ongoing; it does not end with the first victim. By understanding the criminal
methodology used by these offenders it is possible to draw parallels with many
different fraud types, in particular, those committed via the internet, and, similarly, it
is possible to understand how victims are selected, drawn in and eventually
As detailed above, it is not just the crime itself that must be considered, it is the
complete lifecycle of communication and interaction between the victim and the
suspect. Without this, the methodology used in committing the fraud cannot be
properly understood and the victim cannot be provided with the correct support.
This concept is not just applicable to offences committed online, but is equally
applicable to offences committed face to face or by the use of telephony. Through a
study of the recent rise in Mandate Fraud it has been shown that the „victim‟ is
contacted an average of 5 times by the fraudster before a request is made to pay
monies in a new (fraudsters) account, Jones (2014). Like other predatory offenders,
the fraudster is using social engineering on the victim, building a trust based
relationship that will ultimately enable the commission of the offence.
There have been many studies by criminologists and psychologists examining the
offending behaviour of predatory offenders; these studies haven‟t been limited to the
final act of the crime, of equal importance has been the study of the predatory phase.
To better understand the motives and modus operandi of the fraudster it is also
necessary to focus on the entire lifecycle of their behaviour. From a victim
perspective, it may be that more psychological harm is caused from the period of
social engineering than from the commission of the fraud and the subsequent
Many would argue that the harm from predatory and violent crimes is far greater than
that of fraud but, according to early research by Ganzini et al (1990), which
compared victims of fraud with those of violent crime, found that many were afflicted
with depression as a consequence. Deem (2000) found that, to some, the effects of
fraud can be comparable to that of having been subjected to serious violent crimes.
A further study which looked into the impact of Robert Maxwell‟s pension fraud,
Spalek (1999) identified anxiety, stress, fear and depression as being common
emotional reactions. The study also found that a number of deaths were considered
premature as a result of the fraud.
Although some may not consider it appropriate to classify fraud in the same context
as predatory and violent crime, at the very least it should be viewed as a trust based
crime, one of social engineering committed by predatory offenders who abuse
victims without compassion or mercy.
Comparing the effects of fraud with violent crime
In the study of victims of fraud, Ganzini et al (1990) compared the emotional and
physiological impact of fraud and violent crime on victims, including the statistical risk
of victimisation. In the study twenty-nine percent of the victims of fraud experienced
a major depressive episode in the first 20 months after their loss. Five victims (out of
77) developed suicidal tendencies after the loss and generalised anxiety disorder
was found in 45% of the victims.
Ganzini (ibid) concluded that after violent victimisation, adequate social support is an
important predictor of good recovery and release of psychiatric symptoms. Support
for victims of fraud on the other hand, is less structured; criminologists have noted
that victims of fraud are at greater risk of continued victimisation due to the „trust‟
based nature of their crimes.
Although the above study was focussed on victims in the United States, a similar
study was conducted looking at victims of the Maxwell pension fraud, Spalek (1999).
The research confirmed the findings of Ganzini, stating that the harms caused by
corporate fraud are equivalent to, and often more devastating than those usually
focused on by the criminal justice system. Victims of corporate fraud express a range
of emotional and health problems, in addition to suffering from long-term financial
In the largest study of fraud victims in England and Wales, Button et al (2012)
examined the wide ranging effects these crimes have on victims, including broken
relationships, deterioration of physical and mental health, attempts at suicide as well
as some secondary impacts related to reputation and changes in behaviour. The
research demonstrated that fraud victims share many characteristics with other
victims of crime and yet services provided to support them are not as comprehensive
or representative of the true harm.
How is vulnerability of fraud victims classified?
Under the Victims‟ Code, a vulnerable victim is classified as:
Anyone under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.
Anyone who is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the
Mental Health Act 1983.
Those with a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning.
Those with a physical disability or who suffer from a mental disorder
The approach taken with the Victims‟ Code is one of support and service post event,
after the crime has happened. The Code does not provide a means by which
vulnerability can be identified and proactively used to prevent crime or further crimes
against the same individual.
In the context of victims of fraud, vulnerability is not fixed or static, and contrary to
popular misconceptions it is not reliant on an individual‟s age or their physical or
mental capabilities. Rather, it is dynamic, triggered by a combination of
circumstances, situations and external influences. Criminals behind some of the
most successful frauds will often target individuals based on an assessment of their
vulnerability to a particular approach or pitch.
By understanding how an individual‟s situation or circumstances could contribute
towards their vulnerability, regardless of the age, capacity or capability of that
person, a more informed victim focussed intervention is possible. Situations affecting
an individual‟s vulnerability could range from a loss of income or being on a low
income, becoming a carer, living in a particular area or without internet access.
Recognising that vulnerability is not necessarily permanent and that an individual‟s
vulnerability is dynamic, it is possible to focus on the triggers that have contributed
towards the vulnerable state, such as a significant emotional event, e.g.
bereavement, serious illness, divorce or redundancy.
For consumers, which many volume fraud victims are, vulnerability can vary
depending on what services or products are being purchased, and how or by what
method of communication the transaction is being conducted through.
It is not uncommon when an individual is susceptible to a particular vulnerability for
this to lead to others, compounding their situation and their vulnerability. For
example, individuals with low basic skills are also more likely to be unemployed (e.g.
vulnerable to employment frauds), carers often suffer from ill-health and/or
unemployment (e.g. vulnerable to health & support frauds); the elderly are at a
greater risk of suffering from a recent bereavement and long-term illness (e.g.
vulnerable to relationship & support frauds).
Vulnerability should not be seen as „once classified‟, always vulnerable; the
vulnerability should be viewed as unique in relation to the period of time when the
classification was made. However, these vulnerabilities may very well indicate a
predisposition to the susceptibility of becoming a repeat victim.
Victims of fraud should always be recognised as individuals first and classified in
relation to their vulnerability second. This does not negate the need for timely
interventions when individuals are recognised as being vulnerable, but it does
ensure that they treated with respect and dignity as an individual, not as a generic
A victim of a house burglary may be vulnerable, due to circumstances, of a
secondary occurrence as criminals know that the goods stolen will more often than
not be replaced following an insurance claim. In the same way, a victim of an
investment fraud may be vulnerable to further crimes committed under the guise of
„fraud recovery‟ scams.
Returning to the concept of the victim of a house burglary, the main thrust of the
„police‟ support is a focus on weaknesses with the physical security that may need
attention in order to prevent further offences. Limited consideration, from a police
perspective, is given to the psychological impact of being burgled, the sense of
violation, not feeling safe. For some the impact is so great that they see no option
but to move. For victims of fraud, the impact can be just as severe, and for some, the
need to distance themselves from the source of the crime, especially when it is
committed online, can result in them withdrawing or being excluded from the digital
Applying victim needs to support for victims
When considering crimes of fraud, it is not uncommon for the first thing a person
considers is „how much did they lose‟, unfortunately, the same mindset can often be
applied to those providing support to victims fraud. Dealing with the purely „financial‟
aspects of a fraud can leave victims emotionally and psychologically vulnerable.
Clearly, not all victims of fraud fit into this category, for victims of high volume low
value frauds, such as online shopping or auction frauds, the psychological impact
can be minimal and the primary concern of the victim is access to information and
updates on the progress of their crime report, services which can be automated and
provided through a range of new and emerging technologies.
Victims of the more serious crimes, those causing the most harm, are more often
than not „dynamically‟ vulnerable and at greater risk from the long term negative
effects of the crime. For this group, the needs are complex and unique to each
individual; to provide a service that is effective and affordable will require creative
and flexible solutions.
Case Study: Senior Busters- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC)
The CAFC was one of the international forerunners (formed in 1991) for providing a
centralized „national‟ fraud reporting centre together with support for the victims of
fraud, a model mirrored by Action Fraud and the NFIB. CAFC identified that seniors
are targeted for many reasons: loneliness, lack of family support, age vulnerability
and for health-related reasons such as Alzheimer's.
Seniors are particularly susceptible to fraud schemes because their generation tends
to be more trusting and less likely to end conversations. Fraudulent telemarketers
build relationships with seniors and gain their trust before victimising them. Ruined
family lives, great financial losses and suicides have resulted from this brutal crime
against the elderly.
Staff at the CAFC found they had neither the time nor the resources to follow up with
victimised seniors so the Centre enlisted volunteer seniors who could help with the
battle against mass marketing and identity fraud. The volunteers are able to relate
personal experiences, provide support and establish rapport with elderly victims. The
"seniors helping seniors" program was named SeniorBusters.
SeniorBusters was officially launched in October 1997, since then, it has grown to a
group of approximately 50 active volunteers. They come from diverse backgrounds
and bring many different skills to the CAFC and its attempt to reduce the level of
mass marketing fraud and identity theft. This is clearly a successful and effective
long-term strategy in reducing the number of seniors victimised by fraud.
SeniorBusters helps fraud victims by:
Relating personal experiences, wisdom and expertise
Providing strength to victims
Providing emotional and moral support
Being sensitive to the needs of seniors
Contacting victims as often as needed
Educating and re-educating seniors
Obtaining suspect company information
Referring victims to other appropriate agencies
Developing personal relationships with victims
Ensuring that seniors have a place to turn to when they need assistance
Helping victimised seniors regain personal dignity.
Current system for supporting victims of fraud
It should be noted that the support for victims of fraud is better now than it has ever
been. Under the late National Fraud Authority considerable progress was made
under the remit of „Fighting Fraud Together‟ and with the development of the
„National Fraud Segmentation. Victim Support has invested in the training of staff
and Action Fraud automatically refers victims to Victim Support and provides a
wealth of support and advice through their website and call centre staff.
Through Action Fraud and the NFIB an Economic Crime Victims Unit is being piloted
(London region) to provide additional support to victims who may be considered as
vulnerable. A key deliverable from this pilot will be an informed picture of the
potential levels of vulnerability from those crimes reported to Action Fraud, whether
the system recognised them as vulnerable, if not, what could be done to ensure that
those who are vulnerable are identified and provided with the appropriate support.
The pilot has already confirmed that vulnerability following a fraud, or to further
offences of fraud, cannot be viewed in the same context as the Victims Code; what is
required is a multi-dimensional matrix taking into account victim demographics, fraud
methodologies, together with past, present and future triggers of individual
Additionally, the pilot has shown that victims own assessment of their vulnerability is
not always the most reliable indicator; individuals can be blind or dismissive of their
own vulnerabilities, an issue that fraudsters rely on and frequently take advantage of.
The majority of the services available could be viewed as „reactive‟, providing
generic support and guidance; without understanding or being able to assess
dynamic vulnerability, these services could miss the triggers necessary to prevent a
victim from becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to further victimisation.
Although there may be duplication and potential areas of conflict, none of the
services or functions are wrong, they are doing a great job in providing support in
one of the most challenging areas of modern day victimisation. Just as Action Fraud
standardised and improved the fraud reporting process on behalf of England and
Wales, so too is the potential for a centralised or nationally coordinated support
service for victims of fraud.
The service however, should not be seen as one size fits all, but a structured matrix
or menu of services and support tailored for the needs and vulnerabilities of
individuals, groups and communities. The structure could follow the below structure:
Back End - Action Fraud: Rules based victim vulnerability assessment – identifying
triggers which access or direct individuals to different support systems.
Fraud Victim Care Unit: Focussed on follow up contact with individuals identified by
Action Fraud as „Vulnerable‟ from either the original offence or to further offences.
This unit is not to be considered as the final solution, but more of a psychological
triage unit that identifies, classifies and transitions victims to the appropriate support
Victim Support: Either contracted out or in-house, with specialist training to
recognise the psychological trauma associated with fraud, together with the financial
impact, able to provide effective first line support and where necessary, refer victims
to professional support services.
Front End – Action Fraud: Generic fraud prevention and „what to do‟ advice for
those seeking to prevent or report fraud but not necessarily affected by it
necessitating specialist support. Through the delivery of the „next generation‟
combined NFIB and Action Fraud solution, it will be possible for victims to remotely
access details and updates on their fraud reports, providing accessible support for
low impact / low harm victims whose primary concern is knowing how or if their case
Volunteers: Multi-tiered approach, working at both national and local levels.
Specials – developing a cadre of trained officers whose time is used
providing support to victims where there knowledge of the community can be
used to recognise and proactively provide support to groups that are, or may
be targeted by fraudsters.
Busters – building on the Canadian model of „Senior Busters‟ a more
comprehensive network of support could be provided, not just for seniors but
also including „junior busters‟ for example, supporting a group of the
community that may be cyber wise, but at the same time, vulnerable to fraud
through a lack of being street wise.
For the above to be effective the focus of the support for victims of fraud must
combine what we already know about the „who‟ (victim demographics) with a more
comprehensive understanding of the „how‟ and „why‟ (fraud methodology).
To make this work there is benefit in considering how current systems and national
structures can be leveraged to best effect. By bringing together the intelligence from
NFIB and Action Fraud with a permanent centralised victim triage / assessment unit
(such as the pilot Economic Crime Victims Unit), together with the specialist support
services detailed above, a nationally coordinated service can be provided to victims
of fraud to a standard that has not been seen before.