This post is a slight departure for me, but I wanted to draw your attention to an organisation I’m a member of called the Fraud Women’s Network. No doubt you can work out a certain amount about it from its name, but it’s a membership organisation for women who work in the ‘anti-fraud arena’.
It’s been going about ten years and its aim, and I’m quoting from its website here because that gives a far more succinct explanation than I could, is to bring together women who are involved in ‘all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime head on.’
Basically, it offers an education programme, networking opportunities and a mentoring scheme to help women develop their careers. I joined because, as you may be aware, I feel pretty strongly about prize draw scams and am committed to raising public awareness of them. Prize draw scams are a form of fraud. I was also interested in making connections with people who have similar professional interests, which I have done and I’m sure I will continue to do.
To give you an idea of what this can mean in practice, the Fraud Women’s Network is, as you might expect, supporting Fraud Week, but in April it’s also running an event focusing on cryptocurrencies. With news reports that cyberthieves now seeking to cash in on bitcoin and the launch of the world’s first lottery offering prizes in bitcoin, this is obviously very timely and it’s definitely a topic I’m keen to get myself up to speed on.
Now I realise I’m stating the obvious here, but the Fraud Women’s Network is for women only. The rationale is that the anti-fraud arena can sometimes be a rather male environment, so it offers a supportive women-only space. However, the Fraud Women’s Network is in turn part of a network of fraud organisations called the National Federation of Fraud Forums. Many of these member organisations are regional, so if you’re not, er, a woman there is likely to be a similar group, perhaps local to you, which you can join.
Finally, I should declare an interest in that I’ve recently been asked to join the Fraud Women’s Network steering committee. Needless to say I’m delighted, very flattered and hope I can make a worthwhile contribution. One of the precepts of the organisation is that fraud takes place in both the public and private sectors, and I know I come at fraud from the perspective of the prize promotions industry and as an anti-scam campaigner, so I’m looking forward to being involved in what I genuinely believe is important work.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador.