Fighting financial crime

How and why we fight financial crime

What is financial crime?

It's important to understand how financial crime can impact your life and what you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

  • Financial crime covers a wide range of criminal offences including fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption, terrorist financing, tax evasion, market abuse and insider dealing.
  • A simple way to help identify financial crime is to think of it as any activity where someone benefits from something they are not entitled to - this could be money, a product or service.
  • The cost of serious and organised financial crime to the UK is huge. It's around £37billion a year [1] and doesn’t just impact businesses and organisations. You, and all the people you know, are impacted by financial crime too.

[1] Government evidence

How does financial crime impact me?

Here's an example of how financial crime is affecting consumers, like you, right now.

People buy insurance to protect themselves, the people close to them and the things they love. But when insurance fraud is committed this will have an impact on insurance companies as they could have to increase customer premiums. It damages consumer finances and their confidence in financial service providers.

That’s why we have a dedicated financial crime team who help us to take care of our members and customers by investigating all suspicions of financial crime. Once the team have investigated, and gathered evidence, we report our findings to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The organisations we work with are:

We do our best to protect all our members and customers, and their finances, but anyone can be a victim of financial crime at any time, so being alert and knowing how to protect yourself is vital.

What to watch out for

Different types of financial crime to be aware of

  • Investment fraud
  • Pension scams
  • Pension liberation

financial crime

Financial crimes you may encounter

Money laundering

This is when people disguise large amounts of money, which usually originates from a serious crime (such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity), by dividing it into smaller chunks. These smaller chunks will then pass through other businesses as investments or used in transactions to create the illusion that it originally came from a legitimate source.

There are three main stages to money laundering - placement, layering and integration.

1. Placement - This is when the illegal money is introduced into the financial system

2. Layering - This is the movement stage, where the money is separated from it's source and disguised

3. Integration - Money is returned to the criminal from what looks like a legitimate source

Vishing

Vishing is when criminals use phone fraud to obtain personal and financial information from their potential unexpected victims. Vishers make unsolicited cold calls usually pretending to be from a well-known organisation.
Vishers may already have obtained some of your personal information and will likely use this to try and imply they are calling from a genuine company or for legitimate reasons. However, the caller’s main goal is to obtain and gather as much of your personal information for their financial gain. 

Vishing is not restricted to the insurance industry; callers may also impersonate banks and building societies, the police and other trusted companies.

Read more on how you can protect yourself against vishing.

Terrorist financing

In short, terrorist finance provides funds for terrorist activity. The funds could come from legitimate sources such as personal donations and profits from charitable companies, or the funds could come from criminal sources such as the drug trade, fraud or kidnapping.

Financial transactions associated with terrorist financing tend to be in smaller amounts than they are for money laundering, so they can be harder to track.