Putting fraud protection advice into prescriptions
My job is to protect victims of fraud, and to work proactively to ensure that people are not scammed in the first place. The Crime Survey of England and Wales estimated that there had been 3.8 million incidents of fraud for the year ending March 2019.
Sadly, I have found that many victims of fraud are vulnerable and often elderly. This led me to think about how we could get our fraud protection messaging out to this demographic.
I began by asking GP surgeries if I could leave advice leaflets in their waiting rooms. Most agreed, but I didn’t know if people were actually picking up the leaflets and reading them. I then took a bundle of leaflets and went into Nottingham City Centre.
I visited a pharmacy and asked if the leaflets could be displayed. The pharmacist agreed to put one into each prescription bag that was dispensed, until the leaflets ran out. When I returned to the office, I updated my sergeant and detective superintendent about my idea, and we agreed that I could develop it further.
I have now started contacting other pharmacies to see if this is something they would be interested in working with us on. This is particularly relevant now, with criminals taking advantage of people’s uncertainty around the pandemic by using fake COVID-19 services and products as a lure. This simple idea could help us to get scam warnings and fraud protection messaging out to a large number of people, especially older people who are alone and self-isolating, to help keep them safe.