Business development · 11 February 2016

Home secretary announces fraud taskforce to crack down on vulnerabilities

fraud taskforce
The new fraud taskforce will train bank staff to spot fraud

Home secretary Theresa May has announced a new joint taskforce which will pool the resources of law enforcement bodies and financial institutions to reduce the impact of fraud on the UK economy.

The new body will work to identify areas where individuals and firms are vulnerable to scams – as well as training bank staff on spotting fraud. It will also pool intelligence on fraud being carried out by serious and organised criminal gangs, and create a list of the ten most wanted scammers in the country.

May said: “Fraud shames our financial system. It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life.

“The taskforce will identify and tackle the vulnerabilities that the fraudsters depend on to successfully target the public and businesses. These are often simple fixes that can have big results, like our work with telephone providers to reduce the amount of time a telephone line stays open after one person has dialled, closing a loophole which criminals used to pretend to be from a bank or other legitimate organisation.”

Katy Worobec, director of Financial Fraud Action UK – a partner in the new taskforce – added: “Fraud can have a devastating impact on its victims and banks are committed to eradicating this crime and stopping the scammers who target individuals and businesses. The Joint Fraud Taskforce will build on the good work already in place, allowing banks, police and government to operate together even more effectively.”

Research carried out by Sage Pay in 2015 revealed that one third of SMEs had experienced fraud in the last 12 months – with the average cost to each almost reaching £3,500.

Despite 55 per cent of consumers citing security as their highest priority, just under one third of the small business owners surveyed didn’t spend any money on fraud prevention. And those leaders who said  they did put protective measures in place most frequently cited asking for CV2 numbers when taking electronic payments – though the vast majority of consumers who shop online expect businesses to do more than this.

To find out what micro firm owners are doing to limit the risk of being ripped off, check out our fraud lessons.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.