New team tackling fraudsters across Leicestershire

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PCSO Rachael Lea (l) and fraud vulnerability officer Rachael Gill (r)

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Issued on 11/6/18 at 2:16 p.m.

A Police Community Support Officer is the latest recruit helping Leicestershire Police in its fight against fraudsters.

PSCO Rachel Lea is part of a team ensuring that victims and other potentially vulnerable individuals receive the right information to protect themselves from fraud in the future.

She has worked with the force for the past nine years but only moved to the Economic Crime Unit recently where her work is already making a difference.

PCSO Lea visits victims in their homes to provide advice and liaises with agencies including social services, Trading Standards, mental health, and other health services where necessary.

Victims include those who may have been duped into sending an individual cash after striking up a ‘fake’ romance online or over the phone or have handed over their banking details to fraudsters purporting to be someone else.

Others may have fallen victim to cold calling rogue traders who demand large amounts of cash for completing relatively simple jobs such as mowing the lawn.

PSCO Lea said: “There are so many different types of fraud to look out for. We wanted to have a cohesive response in terms of how we look after people to ensure they don’t fall victim again and how we can protect vulnerable individuals from being tricked by others in the future.

“I meet people face to face in my uniform which can be very reassuring for those who may have had their trust completely broken.”

PSCO Lea works closely with fraud vulnerability officer Rachael Gill to determine who they need to provide most support to.

The majority of fraud and cyber crimes are reported to Action Fraud - a national reporting centre - which feeds them into local forces across the country to be investigated.

Rachael said: “I use this information to determine where we need to go and who we may need to pass advice and support onto. We talk to other agencies all the time who can help us with that including banks who can raise the alarm if, for instance, an elderly person suddenly requests to withdraw large amounts of money.

“Unfortunately many of the victims we speak to are elderly, so if anyone feels like a relative of theirs may be vulnerable we would ask them to pass on the advice given out by Action Fraud, including never giving out your PIN, password or moving money from one account to another when requested.”

Paul Wenlock, from the force’s Economic Crime Unit, added: “It’s great that these specific roles are working so closely together to reinforce the important message of how to keep yourself and others safe from fraud. We want to ensure vulnerable people don’t become repeat victims as so often can be the case. This work helps to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

To prevent yourself and others becoming a victim visit the Action Fraud website or go to the advice and information pages on our website.

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