Action Fraud response to inaccurate coverage in Daily Mail
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The Daily Mail’s ‘This is Money’ has today published an inaccurate and misleading story about Action Fraud under the headline ‘I fell victim to a Facebook scam and the police advised me to write a letter of complaint to Mark Zuckerberg’.
The article makes a number of inaccurate claims about a report made to Action Fraud following a social media account being hacked, including:
That the victim would be assigned a case manager within 28 days.
That the victim was told to write a letter to the boss of Meta.
The call handler helped her draft a letter and that the call handler had a template of what the letter should say.
The journalist also did not use all of the information provided to them in response to the questions they asked Action Fraud, including that the person in this case was not told to write a letter.
The article also gives a misleading report on the overhaul to Action Fraud, which was always planned due to a natural end to current supplier contracts.
Action Fraud and the City of London Police feel it is important to make clear and to address the above as follows:
All reports made to Action Fraud, whether by phone or online, are sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for an initial assessment. Due to the volume of fraud reports received each month (around 35,000), this initial assessment can take up to around 28 days. Once the assessment has been completed, the person who made the report will receive a letter from the NFIB explaining the next steps. This may include whether the report has been passed to a police force for them to consider investigative opportunities. Neither Action Fraud or the NFIB have investigative powers.
As stated to the Daily Mail, Action Fraud does not advise people to write letters to companies or individuals and did not do so in this case. Call handlers at Action Fraud have standard operating procedures to follow and providing advice telling people to write letters to particular individuals is not within any policies that Action Fraud and the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit (NECVCU) use. Due to these standard operating procedures and policies, Action Fraud call handlers would not draft a letter nor would they have templates for letters.
Details about the replacement system for Action Fraud has been made publicly available here and here. It was also covered in the Government’s National Fraud Strategy and Beating Crime Plan.
Action Fraud and the City of London Police find it disappointing that despite clear information being provided to the journalist both in writing and through conversations over the phone, the publication has continued to write a factually inaccurate news article.