If someone tried to burgle your home, would you report it? Most people would 1. And yet when a fraudster tries to steal our pensions, investments and life savings, we’re not speaking up.
Why aren’t people speaking up?
A survey we conducted found that seven in ten people would report an attempted burglary – but only half did the same when they were targeted by what they suspected to be financial scams linked to coronavirus. So why is this?
One of the main reasons was not knowing who to speak to. 41% of those surveyed said they didn’t know who to report fraud to.
Others didn’t see the point in reporting it, with 36% saying they didn’t think it would be investigated. And 25% said they didn’t have the time.
Another reason people didn’t say anything was that they didn’t think they should report it – 21% of people we spoke to fell into this category.
But the only way we can tackle fraud effectively is if we know the whos, whats, whys and more. By working together with you, we can get this information sooner.
Know who to speak to
If anyone contacts you claiming to be us, but you have even the slightest suspicion it’s not, you can report it to us. Our Financial Crime Intelligence Unit will investigate and keep you updated along the way.
Our team of experts have over 170 years’ combined experience in financial crime intelligence. They work with several sectors and organisations including National Crime Agency (NCA), Financial Services Authority, HMRC, Global Banking, Insurance and Investment Management companies. They also work with many overseas organisations in the fight against financial crime.
By working together, we’re better equipped to fight the fraudsters. Peter Hazelwood, Group Financial Crime Risk Director at Aviva, said “The best chance we have of catching these criminals is through better information sharing.”
If you think you’ve been targeted by a fraudster, you should also contact Action Fraud, who specialise in tackling fraud and cybercrime. You can call them on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk
And if you feel that you’re in immediate danger, it’s important that you call the Police.
The shame factor
Another reason people don’t report fraud is because they’re ashamed of being a victim.
Over a quarter of all the people we spoke to said they’d be embarrassed to tell anyone – including family, friends and the authorities – that they’d been the victim of a financial scam. Action Fraud also reported that sometimes people are too embarrassed to report that they fell for a scam 2.
But it’s important to remember, there’s no shame in it.
Peter said “these fraudsters are surprisingly professional and convincing.” In fact, 78% of people we spoke to said the fraudsters pretended to be from a company they already deal with – making their crimes even more difficult to spot.
These criminals take advantage when we’re at our most vulnerable. So it’s important that we fight back – and reporting them is the way to do this.
Reporting fraud protects you – and others
By reporting fraud to the right people, you can keep your money secure – and stop the same thing happening to others too. Here’s a story about one of our customers whose life savings we were able to save because he contacted us:
Someone posing as one of our real employees contacted the customer about investing in Aviva Bonds. When this customer called us to speak to the individual, we gave his personal assistant’s (PA) details.
The PA raised concerns with her manager as she didn’t recognise the email address the customer said the individual had provided as her manager’s.
It turned out the person who’d contacted the customer was a fraudster. The customer was about to invest £85k of their life savings and had also recommended the fake bonds to a friend – but our Financial Crime Team contacted them just in time.
By reaching out to us, this customer saved themselves – and their friend – from losing out on a big chunk of their life savings. This shows just how important it is to report fraud. We’ll investigate and potentially save others from a similar fate.
To learn more about the telltale signs of a fraudster, see spot fraud to stop fraud.
And if you’d like to see what else our findings uncovered, read the full Aviva Fraud Report.