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ombudsman news

issue 135

August 2016

fighting fraud

Money matters are complicated enough to navigate, without the risk of falling victim to financial crime. Unfortunately, scams are a fact of daily life - and when daily life changes, scams evolve with it.

In particular, new technologies - which should make life easier - inevitably come with new risks. So while some people continue to receive fake investment opportunities through their letterbox, others are falling victim to “number spoofing” on their mobiles - or finding their online business banking threatened by malware. Our case studies in this issue echo many of the problems I heard about at a recent drop-in we held with MPs and their caseworkers.

Regardless of the type of scam - or the amount of money that’s been lost - the ordeal of being scammed may be distressing, and even life-changing. From our conversations with financial businesses, we know that protecting customers is high on their agenda. And it makes sense that part of the solution will be ensuring that technology and other safeguards keep one step ahead of the scammers.

But in the face of ever-more sophisticated crime, what else can be done? Like so many other financial problems, awareness plays a huge role in prevention. So to me, it’s essential that everyone with an insight, shares that insight. That goes as much for individual people talking to their neighbours as it does for organisations like ours - who, in dealing with large volumes of complaints and concerns, can see the bigger picture and identify worrying patterns and trends.

At the ombudsman, we’ll continue to share what we’re seeing whenever we can - as we did with our report on phone fraud last year. And I’m grateful to the experts who’ve shared their perspectives with us in this month’s ombudsman focus.

By keeping up the conversation about scams - and working together - we can all play a part in stopping them.

Caroline Wayman

Caroline Wayman
Caroline Wayman
chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.