So last week’s column following the BBC report that “fraud victims 'failed' as criminals 'operate with impunity'” according to a report by ex-Met Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey has provided me with oodles of material following readers writing in with their experiences. Clearly an area I should cover more and more.
It feels like #metoo – or the Saville Enquiry – it’s not until a victim come forward that you find there is an iceberg they were sitting on and giving courage to others. Victim shaming happens in finance as much as it does in other crimes.
As I mentioned last week chances are if you’re reading this article, you or a member of your family has been a victim of fraud. We British Indians are of course a wealthy community, or at least, have savings and so a common target.
What I was not expecting however is how many people are pressured or ashamed or embarrassed to mention when they are victims of alleged crimes. I as a former Barrister should not be surprised, but the campaigns of sexual harassment show that human nature is such that there is often fear. Or take child grooming – communities clamp down on victims and try to keep things ‘private’.
How often have we heard a victim say ‘it’s my own fault, I was so stupid’? So here are just some of messages on types of financial scams doing the rounds on the internet that my readers and followers have alerted me to:
The ‘Good Morning Britain Bitcoin Scam’ – this is very popular. It’s where the scammer claims to have won numerous fake awards, doctors images to show themselves associated with celebrities – faking a sense of trust, they also do this through some community connection eg ‘men in Chiswick are all using this method to make money’. They then claim to represent some important sounding company and ask for your money. You’ll never see that again.
Binary brokers – all of them. Anybody offering binary options trading – don’t do it. Go to the Casino. The broker, if UK FCA regulated is fine, it’s just Binary is going to lose you money.
Now, you don’t have to take a barrister’s word for it whose published 18 books on trading through the Financial Times and Macmillan with his own show on Bloomberg – my point being I do know my stuff and have seen it all. I’ve written about such things in the Financial Times column, but of course fraudsters are very convincing. Check the url – that’s often a giveaway.
Just because someone says they are regulated and authorized doesn’t mean they are. Just because they say they don’t need to be regulated doesn’t mean they do not.
Another common one my readers have faced is the ‘investment manager’ who will trade your money for you and make you big guaranteed returns. Such solicitation is a criminal offence. So is helping them, including putting up their websites – it’s called conspiracy to defraud and aiding and abetting.
Our community is being targeted. Stand up for it. Don’t be like the groomers and a party to conspiracies to defraud. Do not be ‘victim shamed’ in not taking the matter forward. If not the police, you have journalists. And I’ll do what I’ve done this week and speak to my friends at the BBC and get them to not just write about how the police are not taking cases forward, but also, how they the BBC can.