Actions to be taken throughout the FIM

As mentioned earlier, while the Fraud Investigation Model (FIM) has steps to follow, it is also a continuous cycle.

It will, therefore, need to be followed continually and there are actions you’ll need to carry out throughout the model.

Disruption

To put it simply, the crime of fraud (by false representation) consists of a lie being transmitted by the criminal to the victim so that the victim will send money to the criminal. Both of these stages can be interrupted by denying fraud criminals any opportunity to defraud victims. To learn more about the opportunities and other factors that could increase fraud risk refer back to the section related to fraud factors in Week One.

An illustrative drawing showing three silhouettes. On the left a fraud criminal, at the centre a fraud investigator and on the right a victim. An arrow goes from the fraud criminal to the victim, text above it reads: Lies are given to the victim. As second arrow points from the victim to the fraud criminal, the text above it reads: Money is given due to the lies. Click to enlarge

The stages of the disruption process

The disruption process needs to follow the following steps:

1. Identification of fraud factors and the scale of fraud risk​

The existence of some fraud factors enables fraud criminals to defraud victims. Therefore fraud investigators should identify what were the principal factors that allowed this fraud to be committed. Some examples of fraud factors include the use of the internet​, virtual currencies and the lack of public awareness of fraud. It is also important to consider who else is more likely to be a victim of fraud.

2. Disrupting the fraud factors

The second step should be to consider what could be done to reduce the risk of fraud. Some of the actions that fraud investigators can take in order to disrupt fraud factors include requesting suspension of the factors from the partner agencies (eg, suspension of money movement by banks): referring the case to a specialist fraud partner agency (eg, Action Fraud): raising fraud awareness by providing fraud prevention advice to victims to protect them from further harm. The document from the Metropolitan Police in the downloads section at the foot of this page is an example of raising awareness of fraud crime among the public.

3. Operational learning

Every fraud investigation has its challenges. Therefore, it is important for fraud investigators to consider how the lessons learned can be used to prevent others from becoming a victim of fraud.

Working with the victim

Another important ongoing step is working with the victim. This is a key consideration for the investigator and must take into account the following elements:

  • Victims of fraud should be treated in a respectful, sensitive, tailored and professional manner.
  • Victims should receive appropriate support to help them to cope, recover and be protected from becoming victims again
  • It is important that victims know what information and support are available to them and from whom to request help if needed​
  • The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime is the statutory code that sets out the minimum level of service victims should get from the criminal justice agencies

Further victims of fraud may be identified through a number of sources, including:​

  • Action fraud reports​
  • Direct reporting to law enforcement ​
  • Suspicious activity reports​
  • Bank accounts ​
  • Investor lists ​
  • Media ​
  • Other agencies, for example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Insolvency Service
  • Data held on the suspect’s devices e.g. phone or computer

The following organisations will be of help in working with victims:

Victim Support

Neighbourhood Watch


References

Betts, M.,J. (2017) Investigation of Fraud and Economic Crime Oxford: Oxford University Press

Merriam-Webster (2019) ‘Due diligence’ Merriam-Webster [online]. available from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/due%20diligence [25 June 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Fraud Investigation: Making a Difference

Coventry University