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Women Who Fight Fraud

FICO is a proud sponsor of the Fraud Women’s Network in the UK. The whole notion of a women’s network for fraud confuses some people, so we invited Deputy Chair Katy Worobec, Head of Fraud Control at Financial Fraud Action UK, to explain what this group does. Over to you, Katy!

Katy Worobec:
I’m often asked, “Why have a network for women working in fraud?” This is frequently accompanied (with a snigger and a ‘nudge nudge’ look) by the insightful remark, “I think I’ll set up a Fraud Men’s Network!” (Pause for laughter. None comes. Collapse of stout party.)

The fact is that fraud control is an occupation dominated by men. When I started out, it was quite intimidating to be one of only a handful of ladies in the room. If you’ve seen police dramas like Prime Suspect about women in law enforcement, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So back in early 2004 Toni Sless, now Chairwoman of the Fraud Women’s Network, set to arranging an informal gathering of like-minded women from different organisations – all involved in the anti-fraud arena – in London. These gatherings started as social meetings, but quickly became a very useful forum in which to share views, experience best practice and expertise.

In 2007, we put things on a more formal footing, and set up a network to embrace all women involved in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of fraud. Our membership now contains a broad and diverse spectrum of some 140 women across law enforcement, banking, insurance, commercial, public sector, legal, accounting, forensics and forensic accounting, information security, investigations and telecommunications (to name but a few). Today, the Fraud Women’s Network is part of the National Federation of Fraud Forums.

So what do we DO!?
One of my colleagues will say breezily when seeing a FWN event in my diary, “I see you’re off to your knitting circle again” (pause for laughter, etc.). Of course, knitting features pretty low on our planned list of events, although that could change should any fraud in the wool trade come to light. Does sheep rustling count?

We hold a number of events across the year, which mix networking opportunities with a wide-ranging education programme about the trends and developments in fraud and organised crime and tools to detect and fight fraud and organised crime. We have had speakers on: counterfeit goods and copyright theft, art fraud and diamond forgery (no samples, sadly), computer forensics, corruption, card fraud, mass marketing fraud, telecoms fraud, sporting fraud, wine fraud (personal favourite), employee fraud, pharmaceutical and food fraud, insurance fraud, social engineering and other topics.

At our most recent event, ‘In Our Hands and Off the Street: Changing Behaviour to Stay Safe Online,’ one of the speakers was David Mitchell, a colleague of mine from Financial Fraud Action UK. He talked about ‘Out of Your Hands’ (http://outofyourhands.com) a tailored set of resources for primary and secondary school pupils which bring to life the distinction between risky and protective behaviour. Did you know that adult monetary habits are already set by the time you are seven years old? This really brought home why it was so important to ensure young children understand about protecting their personal information. The topic resonated with the audience and prompted the suggestion that FWN should help to spread the word about the ‘Out of Your Hands’ resource.

We also arrange pure fun networking events such as our quiz night in aid of our charity the Eve Appeal (held last night), and mentoring dinners where we invite eminent speakers to talk about their experiences working in fraud.

If you are a woman working in the fraud prevention arena, we would be delighted to welcome you as a member. Visit our website at www.fraudwomensnetwork.com for more information and details of forthcoming events and how to apply for membership. If you would be interested in sponsoring FWN or hosting an event, please email us on info@fraudwomensnetwork.com.

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