Fraud helpline staff ‘mocked and ignored victims’ and branded them ‘morons’ and ‘screwballs’, new report claims
16 Aug 2019

A fraud helpline is misleading victims by suggesting their cases will be investigated even though most are dismissed out of hand, it was reported last night.

An undercover probe found that managers at Action Fraud mocked victims as ‘morons’, ‘screwballs’ and ‘psychos’, while staff are trained to trick callers into thinking they are talking to the police.

Last year an estimated 3.6million online and cold-calling scams were carried out. However, as few as one in 50 fraud reports lead to a suspect being caught.

Victims are told to report their cases to Action Fraud, which is overseen by City of London Police. The day-to-day running of its call centre has been outsourced to US firm Concentrix.

A reporter from The Times discovered that many staff are school-leavers who take victims’ reports after just two weeks’ training. Many were filmed sleeping on the job, play-fighting and taking calls while scrolling through their phones.

Managers were recorded saying that the police ‘do absolutely everything in their power to avoid’ investigating fraud cases. Recruits are told to make snap decisions as to whether to file calls as a ‘crime report’ or an ‘information report’. About half are filed as the latter, which are unlikely to be investigated.

If a victim’s bank details are stolen, their cases are only filed as crime reports if their bank refuses to reimburse them. Likewise, a cold call is only filed as a crime report if the victim has lost money or called the company back.

Michael Rodgers, City of London Police training manager, told staff: ‘When somebody phones up we don’t tell them we’re taking a crime or an information report, we just tell them we’re taking a fraud report.’ Even crime reports are then put into a computer scoring system, with only those most likely to lead to a conviction being passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

This means victims must provide detailed information such as fraudsters’ names and car registration plates. Of the cases reviewed by the NFIB, which is mainly staffed by ex-police officers, about a third are forwarded to local forces to investigate. Mr Rodgers told staff to ‘never disclose’ the scoring system.

By Miles Dilworth, The Daily Mail, 14 August 2019

Read more at The Daily Mail

Photo: Diana Varisova [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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