Last Thursday I attended the 6th Annual Event and 5 year Celebration of the Fraud Women’s Network (FWN). The event was called “From Fagin to Phishing” 200 Years of Organised Crime with presentations from Colin Woodcock MBE – SOCA and David Chernick – MD at TREACL Ltd, and Chair of PREFIT. Both presentations were very good and took us on a professional and personal journey of how organised crime changed through the ages? Or had it? How have organisations tackled and mitigated these changes? Have they? How has it evolved and shaped the way we tackle crime and look at fraudsters today?
But the real reason in coming together was to celebrate the FWN’s 5th year anniversary, present the Stella Walsh Award and have a truly wonderful network evening where the women definitely outnumbered the men and I was one of the lucky few to be invited.
Now, some of the older, crustier and less tolerant men out there may just see this organisation as a bunch of raving feminists coming together to right all the wrongs in the world created by men. They couldn’t be more wrong. The FWN’s strap line isn’t we hate men, far from it. Chair, Toni Sless was recorded saying the complete opposite, but it is important to recognise there are notable differences and challenges that women face everyday. I spoke to a number of women who attended the event to ask what they get out of it and what are some of the challenges they actually face and it was all too clear that there is a distinct lack of women in senior positions within the fraud prevention and detection arena.
So what’s this Fraud Women’s Network actually all about then. Well any woman who works in the anti-fraud arena will know that it can sometimes be a rather male environment and lack true support and mentoring. The Fraud Women’s Network has therefore been set up to bring together women involved in all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime head on. They aim to provide women in the anti-fraud business with:
- Networking opportunities. Our regular networking events provide an invaluable way of establishing and cementing contacts across the whole anti-fraud arena, sharing information and ideas (they also enjoy the social aspect and are good at it)
- Access to a wide-ranging education programme about the latest trends and developments in fraud and organised crime, and the newest tools to help prevent, detect and investigate fraud;
- Mentoring opportunities. Many of the members of the Fraud Women’s Network are senior within their organisations and have a great deal of knowledge, experience and advice that they can impart, as well as encouraging junior women to progress in their careers;
- Access to the members and activities of the regional Fraud Forums, all part of the National Federation of Fraud Forums.
The winners of the Stella Walsh Award 2012 were:
- Pat Turner, Manager, Virgin Media – Long Term Commitment to Preventing Fraud.
- Jenny Playford DC, City of London Police – Outstanding Fraud Investigation
Congratulations to both, very well deserved and fascinating accounts of the work they completed.
Personally, I can see real and genuine value in this network and completely support its board, membership and objectives. Do share the above website with any women who may not be in the Network, I know they’d be welcome. I was delighted to be invited by the Chair and even more surprised and honoured to receive a mention within her introductory speech. A Big well done, congratulations and Happy Birthday to the Fraud Women’s Network, keep up the good work and keep in touch.