Dedicated officer tackles fraud
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Fraud is an ever-increasing concern for forces across the country with the type of fraud and ways in which victims are approached constantly changing.
As part of the force’s ongoing work in this area a dedicated fraud vulnerability officer, Rebecca Spilane, has been providing help and support to victims.
Rebecca joined the force’s economic crime unit more than three years ago and was appointed the fraud vulnerability officer in 2020.
Her role involves assessing the numerous fraud reports received via Action Fraud every week for any vulnerabilities so she can offer care and advice to victims and also prevent them becoming repeat victims of such offences.
She works alongside Police Community Support Officer Rachael Lea, who deals specifically with fraud safeguarding and visits the most vulnerable victims of fraud.
As well as supporting and advising victims of fraud Rebecca gathers intelligence on young people being used by criminals as money mules.
Money mules is a term used to describe people who are being asked by criminals to receive and send money through their own bank accounts, sometimes enticing them by allowing them to keep some of the cash for themselves.
She assists in safeguarding any children under the age of 18 who have been identified as vulnerable and possibly being involved in money mule activity including issuing cease and desist notices to prevent children from continuing down this path.
Delivering talks to schools and groups also forms part of Rebecca’s role and she will offer advice on scams and how people can avoid being a victim of such offences.
Rebecca (pictured) said: “Unfortunately forces across the country are trying hard to tackle fraud and identify those responsible for these crimes. By its very nature fraud is an immensely complex crime to investigate which can lead officers not just across the country but across the world in their efforts to identify those involved.
“My role is to help and support those who have unfortunately fallen victim to these crimes. In most cases fraudsters deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable, some victims have been targeted more than once.
“Many victims have lost life savings through the hands of fraudsters and it’s my job to support and advise them. I pride myself in ensuring I provide a first-class service and will spend time talking to victims and reassuring them, which I know they appreciate.
“I love to help people both at work and in my private life. Outside of work I help run a charity called LE Solidarity. It’s a non-profit community charity group that collects aid and fundraises to buy aid to help refugees both within Leicestershire, in the refugee camps of Europe and within Lebanon and Syria. As part of my work with the charity I was presented with a Leicester Heroes Award.
“I joined the force after completing my A-levels and have only ever worked for the police. It’s a job I enjoy, especially when it helps victims.
“I am always happy to deliver talks to community groups and if anyone wishes to take me up on that they are welcome to get in touch via my email [email protected].”