As you may know, I’m passionate about preventing scams of any kind, but particularly prize promotions scams, and for the last couple of years I’ve been a member of the Fraud Women’s Network (I blogged about joining it here). The name is actually pretty self-explanatory, but instead of trying to describe it in my own words, this is what it says on the organisation’s web site:
“Any woman who works in the anti-fraud arena will know that it can sometimes be a rather male environment, in which there are few senior female executives. the Fraud Women’s Network has therefore been set up to bring together women 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.”
I’m now on the Fraud Women’s Network steering committee and, as you might expect, my fellow committee members are, well, very high-powered. For example, our chair, Toni Sless, is a fraud risk management consultant who provides strategic and advisory services to FTSE 100 companies. Also on the committee is Hannah Blom-Cooper, who’s a commercial litigator specialising in serious fraud and misconduct. And then there’s Paula Hancock, a senior security specialist for BT Security.
So, as you can see, I’m in rather illustrious company and, although I’m generally a confident speaker, when I recently came to give a talk to the Fraud Women’s Network, I was slightly nervous. I mean, these women are incredibly knowledgeable, they have a deep and sophisticated understanding of finance, technology and the law, and one way or another spend their working lives fighting cybercrime. And then there’s little me, who spends her working life making sure instant win mechanisms work properly, competitions are compliant and Ts&Cs cover every eventuality.
Of course, I needn’t have worried and it went very well. I showed some amusing slides, I made some jokes and I talked about the impact scams and cybercrime have on people, about how devastating it is to become a victim and how it’s not just older people who are vulnerable to the scammers, but, as Prizeology’s research showed, younger people can be caught as well. My audience seemed really engaged and, you know, it was a fun evening.
If that sounds like your idea of a fun evening, too, and your organisation is interested in hearing me talk about prize draw scams and how to avoid them, do get in touch.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador.