Action Fraud call handlers call fraud victims “morons” and file most reports as non-crimes

An undercover investigation by The Times into Action Fraud has revealed

  • most reports are never followed up on
  • managers mocked fraud victims as “morons”, “screwballs” and “psychos”
  • victims were misled into thinking that they were talking to a police officer rather than an outsourced call centre worker, and led to believe their case will be investigated when most reports are never followed up on

About half of all reports to Action Fraud are filed as “information reports” as opposed to “crime reports”, and are unlikely to ever be looked at again. The decision is usually made during the call, but victims are, naturally, not told if their report is to be ignored.

As little as 2% of reports result in a conviction.

Four Action Fraud staff members have been suspended.

It seems a safe bet that those thrown under the bus by Action Fraud will have been those indulging in offensive but frankly innocuous behaviour like playfighting during calls, or tweeting about being hungover at work.

Those who created the system whereby most fraud reports in the UK are filed in the circular filing tray under the desk are much higher up the ladder and immune.

For months I have followed up any reference to contacting Action Fraud with words to the effect of “Your report will be placed on a file and if enough reports are received, a police force may take action. Do not expect to hear anything further beyond a standard acknowledgment” depending on how long the paragraph has already run on for.

Contacting Action Fraud is not a waste of time, but only because victims of fraud usually need to feel that they have done something to achieve closure, and contacting Action Fraud is usually all that can be done.

Rather than launching an investigation and throwing a few more phone monkeys into the dole queue, it would be refreshing if the UK’s police force would instead hold their hands up and admit what many readers will already know: the police do not give a shit, and have never given a shit, if people fall victim to fraud.

The idea that they do is dangerous, because one of the most popular phrases in a scammer’s playbook is “if this was a scam, the police would have shut us down”.

Unfortunately the police have a tendency to indulge the public’s Dixon of Dock Green fantasy that if you tell the police about a crime, a bobby will immediately spring into action. It suits them to indulge this fantasy for PR purposes and political leverage.

So, ironically enough, it is likely that an investigation will be conducted, Action Fraud will promise that lessons have been learned, and then carry on as before.

If any boiler rooms need some extra employees, I hear there will shortly be a few people on the job market who are experienced in reading off scripts, pretending to be someone they’re not and telling fraud victims that up is down.

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6 thoughts on “Action Fraud call handlers call fraud victims “morons” and file most reports as non-crimes

  1. So then what is the upside to this reporting? Will reported crimes and application forms submitted be taken more seriously and chased up by Action Fraud now or what?

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  2. Will reported crimes and application forms submitted be taken more seriously and chased up by Action Fraud now or what?

    That is one possibility, although it would require a large injection of funding at a time when the Government has other priorities, and a radical change of culture.

    Far more likely possibilities are:
    1) Concentrix do some grovelling, throw some teenagers under the bus and carry on as before
    2) Concentrix is sacked and the contract is given to another outsourcer who will run Action Fraud in largely the same way, with the same mandate, to the same targets (how’s Atos’ workload these days? And nobody ever got fired for giving a contract to Crapita)
    3) The nuclear option – the Government abolishes Action Fraud and police forces go back to ignoring fraud reports in-house

    Fundamentally the problem is not Concentrix, but the attitude of the police. As a report from the police watchdog (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary) stated, if it doesn’t “bleed, bang or shout”, they don’t care.

    Action Fraud is a cost-saving exercise like any other outsourcing project. It is more efficient to have everyone’s fraud reports collated and ignored by a single nationwide call centre than for individual police forces to receive fraud reports and ignore them individually.

    Lest I sound too cynical, I maintain that it is not pointless for victims of fraud to contact Action Fraud. They need to do something to help get closure, this is something. And some fraudsters are prolific, UK-based and very dumb so occasionally they get caught (it’s 2%, not nil).

    However once they have submitted their report they should not expect to hear anything beyond a standard acknowledgment.

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  3. I have first hand experience of the incompetence of Action Fraud and its consequences. I filed a report and was told – in writing – they were not going to investigate because there were no leads! Seriously? I have more leads than crufts!

    The consequence was hard felt when I threatened to report my scammers to Action Fraud and received an email – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1b_Tje9yKaZkhnMZz7EnApSTta1omg5Pn – from John Ferguson – Director at the time of Square Mile International Financial and also owner of Lillywhite International Ltd – and it read: “All fine as Action Fraud are nobody & have no authority.”

    This attitude means those people, whose business it is to prey on the vulnerable for their own enrichment, have absolute contempt for the authorities and the law presents no deterrent whatsoever.

    Scamming is a low risk, high gain business for scammers because the authorities have no teeth whatsoever!

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  4. 2010-2019
    The Golden Age for Investment Scammers in the UK.
    As long as you pretend to run some sort of business (MJS Capital – private debt arbitrage LOL) you can literally siphon a couple dozen £Million from the public and NOTHING bad will come to you.

    Inaction Fraud

    Charles Ponzi is smiling at his proteges

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