Fraud Scams: Victims and vulnerabilities in the modern age

By Toni Sless, Chairwoman, Fraud Women’s Network

Toni Sless

The Fraud Women’s Network (FWN) informally started in 2004 and formalised back in 2007 to bring together women involved in all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime head on. We organise a variety of events throughout the year from mentoring evenings to breakfast briefings on dating fraud and fraud in the art world.

Each year we hold an annual event and this year it took place at the impressive Sadler Wells Theatre and welcomed almost 100 women and men from the anti-fraud arena, to listen to speakers from the FCA and Cifas.

Simon Dukes, CEO at Cifas kicked off the evening with an extremely interesting presentation on “Victims and Vulnerabilities” and the scams effecting businesses and individuals. Simon noted that the increase in fraud was the result of criminals doing their cost/effort analysis. The chance of getting caught by scamming someone online was much smaller than a bank heist and carried a much lower penalty.

What makes organisations more vulnerable to fraud?

According to a recent KPMG survey, over 60% of corporate fraud has an insider element.

What increases an organisation’s insider vulnerabilities? Simon mentioned:

  1. Decreasing overheads sometimes leading to reduced oversight
  2. More complex supply networks
  3. Ignorance of cyber security principles
  4. Outsourcing and off shoring
  5. Staff churn rates

To help reduce corporate fraud the following points were recommended:

  1. Look into your vetting procedures and ensure they are secure
  2. Have a clear whistleblowing programme in place
  3. Ensure you have an up to date anti-fraud policy
  4. Join risk registers such as Cifas
  5. Be vigilant
  6. Training staff on fraud – this is where Industry Events Online can be particularly effective as its quick and easy to find all the latest courses relevant to your industry and also your job role

Mark Francis from the FCA covered Investment Fraud and the huge £1.2 billion a year lost to investment fraud. These scams included ‘get rich quick’ schemes, shore fraud and unauthorised collective investment schemes. The FCA have around 5,000 calls a year about suspected investment fraud with the ‘candidates’ being individuals who are retired with resources and they can lose upwards of £20,000.

FWN supports the Eve Appeal, a charity that helps fight women’s cancers through awareness and research. The pie throwing contest at the end of the night was very amusing and generated some great donations to the charity!

If you are interested in joining FWN or finding out more, please visit

FWN Logo