'Gold standard' specialist victim fraud hub in Hertfordshire set to be extended

The Beacon Fraud Hub supports victims of fraud in the county

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 12:19 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 12:20 pm

A 'gold standard' scheme, created by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, to support every victim of fraud in Hertfordshire is set to be extended.

Following a successful pilot there are plans to run the Beacon Fraud Hub for a second year, the unit has four members of staff with specialist knowledge who contact all those in the county who have reported having money fraudulently taken.

In the first six months, its advisers have directly helped more than 3,500 victims.

Mr Lloyd at Hertfordshire's Beacon victims centre

David Lloyd has approved proposals to explore making the Fraud Hub a run for a second year in Beacon.

He said: “As fraud is the crime that you are most likely to fall victim to in Hertfordshire, I wanted to make sure we are doing everything possible to prevent people becoming repeat victims and give them the upmost support.

“Everyone has experience of being contacted by phone or email by someone trying to scam them out of money. Sadly it is often the elderly and most vulnerable that hand over money to these very convincing and sophisticated criminals.

“That is why I introduced this pilot and now that it has proved it can make a real difference to victims the plan is to keep offering it as part of the services provided by Beacon.

“We are now looking to open out referrals to those beyond those who have reported to Action Fraud, starting with referrals from front line practitioners involved in welfare and social care.”

Every week a list of around 650 Hertfordshire fraud victims who have initially reported to the Action Fraud, the designated national police organisation, are sent to Beacon.

The Fraud Hub use technical knowledge to help develop an action plan for victims which includes liaising with agencies on their behalf; conducting a needs assessment; providing practical support and measures for target hardening.

Though not set-up to investigate the crime or recover lost funds, there are several examples where Beacon has been able to retrieve the money stolen from the victims through effective advocacy with financial institutions.

One resident whose family business was close to collapse after a conman stole £23,000 got her money back thanks to new anti-fraud team.

Karen Oak, from Stevenage, got all her lost money reimbursed by her bank after advice from one of the advisors on how to contact her bank and what regulations to rely on.

The £128,000 pilot covered the salaries and other expenses of the four new staff recruited and was funded by a government Ministry of Justice victim commissioning grant.