2nd July 2019

“Doorstep Crime Scenes” – a title that might have excited images of burglary, forced access , the police heavy squad and forensic analysis. Mark Lacy’s talk was about a quieter mode, but a disturbing one nevertheless. It told about how the insidious creep into our homes, our privacy and our financial details by fraudsters with a very criminal intent to deprive us of our money.

To a large extent it was a story familiar to most of us. We are accustomed to vast quantities of junk mail, a matter that is a chore but easily handled. More annoying is the cold caller, offering, for example to resurface your drive or remove moss from your roof. But we are all adult and well capable of assessing the nature of the call – unless of course it looked an absolute bargain, would we? There is the young man, trying to sell goods from his suitcase, purporting to be a juvenile court release trying to make a business, but again we do not buy from cold callers !! do we ? Then there is the cash-machine danger – but we all know that we should protect our number, be aware of the character standing at your shoulder, don’t lose your statement slip !

What about your telephone and your e-mail ? Mark talked about the scams devised to get into your computer, to identify your protection codes, to access your finances He pointed out that one small slip and your cash is gone. Or there is the rather oriental voice that says he is Henry and would like to help you mend your failing computer .

Mark is an investigator from the NYCC Trading Standards group, tasked with making the public aware of techniques to defraud us of our money, security and privacy that are only too common today. They are big business, well-organised and persuasive. He was sure that we had all had some experience of chancers seeking to take our money. His organisation was structured to educate the public by illustrating cases of how the gullible had been caught out in the past. He was trained as a detective to trace offenders and organised crime. His talk was clear , well-illustrated and very convincing. A valuable morning.

J E.