Fraud: Constant vigilance the only defence

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“In times like these there is likely to be more fraud than less,” according to Stephen Gilchrist, the chairman of Saunders Law, which specialises in fraud and regulation work.

“It might be trite, but it’s still true,” he told a fraud conference organised by the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) Essex branch in London last week, confirming his observation with figures from the National Fraud Authority showing losses from fraud more than doubled from £30bn in 2011 to £73bn in 2012 - equivalent to £765 per person in the UK.

The basic concepts behind many frauds are quite simple, but technology provides new ways to commit them, said ICM president Stephen Baister, the High Court's chief bankruptcy registrar: “Old frauds appear in new disguises and are perpetuated through different means.”

The event looked at the technological tools available to combat fraud, but the speakers provided constant reminders of the human factors behind the problem. “It’s important to be aware that fraudsters are nice people - it’s all about giving and getting trust,” said Baister.

Gilchrist picked up this point. One of the biggest risks of fraud came from...

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