Britain’s former top fraud-buster reveals how he himself was nearly duped by scammers

Britain’s former top fraud-buster reveals how he himself was nearly duped by scammers: Sir David Green speaks out

Nearly duped: Sir David Green

Britain’s former top fraud-buster has revealed how he himself was nearly duped by scammers. 

Sir David Green, who ran the Serious Fraud Office for six years until 2018, said his 98-year-old father asked him for help, saying he had taken a call from BT about being owed around £100.

‘I picked up the phone and immediately got through to someone, who sounded entirely plausible,’ Green said. ‘It was only when they started to ask for my father’s personal details that I realised something wasn’t right – and gave them short shrift. 

‘I had been talking to a scammer. They had very nearly taken me in – and I used to run the Serious Fraud Office and deal with cases of fraud every day.’ 

Green, who now works for US law firm Cohen & Gresser, said it was clear fraudsters are buying lists of older people who have some money but were brought up in a generation that trusted authority.

‘They tend to believe what someone who says they’re from a bank or a big business tells them, and act rather deferentially towards them,’ he said. 

Green also warned that organised crime is behind increasingly sophisticated frauds. Fraud represented 40 per cent of reported crime in 2021 when there were more than 400,000 reports of online fraud and cybercrime in the UK – an increase of a third on the year before. 

‘And this is only the tip of the iceberg,’ Green added in an opinion piece, published this weekend on The Mail+. 

His biggest priority now is raising awareness. ‘The risks of fraud should be taught in schools, in just the way that in my day a uniformed copper would come in to teach the children how zebra crossings worked,’ he said.