BBC Rip Off Britain have discussed this new proposed hotline to combat fraud. This idea is being developed by Government ministers, finance chiefs and the Police.

There are more than 5,000 cases of fraud every day in the UK, so you can see the scale of the problem that the industry faces which is paid for by everyone.

The principle behind it is that the first 60 minutes (otherwise known as the ‘golden hour’ on murder investigations where the first 60 minutes after a murder can make or break 90% of cases), in bank fraud cases time is of the essence to freeze payments and nail the culprits, many of whom are part of organised crime rings.

Modelled on the 999 emergency number, the 111 number for non-life threatening health problems and 101 for non-emergency Police matters, calling 555 would alert banks to illegal money transfers with the aim of cracking down on the tsunami of scams.

If a customer can alert a hotline about an illegal payment on the day it is made, it should in theory be able to stop the payment, reverse the entry and trace the beneficiary from the payment details without any losses being incurred.

The benefits for the banking industry and consumers is that new fraud trends would be easily spotted but my concern, which is shared across the board, is that this will just be another piece in a big jigsaw that won’t be properly funded or managed with sufficient staff that have the knowledge, skills and ability to make this work effectively.

I would hope that this would be managed within the UK with staff being paid a salary that reflects the responsibility, knowledge and skills that come with the role rather than being outsourced to India. However, in the low wage economy that prevails with everyone wanting everything for nothing, I am not that optimistic.

Action Fraud is often given as the point of contact at present, although this is staffed by 72 people dealing with over 30,000 cases a month so the chances of any investigations and a successful outcome arising are minimal as it is.

The National Crime Agency (‘NCA’) and HMRC face similar problems and none of the Government agencies or bodies appear to be joined up.

The Police don’t have the resources to deal with traditional crime as it is in the age of austerity and cutbacks, so forgive me if I’m a bit cynical about this latest idea if it comes to fruition.

Personally, I believe that the Government would be better advised to plough the resources in to Action Fraud, create the hotline and develop on something that is already established rather than creating another entity to deal with this ever growing problem.

Keep it short and simple should be the mantra but it never is in Governments no matter where you live.

Fraud comes in many shapes and forms and are becoming more sophisticated. My background is primarily in financial services in preventing money laundering and fraud, but even I have been caught out on this.

Someone who bought my consumer book contacted me to discuss a Facebook fraud that she fell for, which I explain here.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you aware of this initiative? Do you think it’s useful?


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