A recent article issued by the National Crime Agency demonstrates how criminal masterminds can cause immense damage, but that they can and do get caught. 

The NCA identified the fraudster and kept him under surveillance. In doing so they were able to trace his vast web of deceit which included taking on several identities, moving between locations, and engaging with other criminal associates. 

Using mainly phone calls and social engineering, he and his team were able to defraud victims out of large sums, finding plausible stories targeted at their victims. For example, one victim tells how she was defrauded out of almost £160k after a fake call claiming to be from her bank. Another was conned into paying for a car that never materialised. 

The fraudster and his gang even set up a fake online real estate agency and stole the identity of a legitimate childcare company. 

This story highlights the lengths that criminals are prepared to go to in order to con innocent victims. On this occasion the fraudster dedicated his life to finding new ways to scam innocent victims. He didn’t rest… that’s why none of us can! 

In the words of the NCA: “Criminals are great pretenders. They may contact you pretending to be a trusted person or company. Millions of people are targeted by scam messages or phone calls like this every year. So if something seems suspicious or unexpected, such as requests for money or information, contact the organisation directly to check.  

Make sure you use details from their official website, which you can find by searching for the company on Google or another trusted search engine. Never use the phone numbers or web addresses in a voicemail or text message.” 

Here, we see how criminals target private individuals, but they use the same tactics for business, finding vulnerabilities and exploiting them. That’s why it’s essential for everyone in your organisation to fully appreciate the threat that cybercriminals present; staff need to feel confident to question any transaction, escalating queries upwards with ease and confidence.   

Processes for escalation are essential. Criminals often try to pressurise victims – making them feel as if they need to do something NOW or there will be consequences. Staff need to feel empowered to slow things down – to take their time over a transaction, rather than assuming their boss is demanding a payment be made immediately. Taking five minutes to make a phone call to check that a transaction request is correct could save thousands of pounds and the reputation of a business. 

If you think you’ve been the victim of a crime, or want to make your business more secure, we can help. As you’ll have read above, criminals spend their waking hours working on ways to take other people’s money. You need to devote some of your time to protecting your money, and we will do all we can to enable this.