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WWYD? Suspect colleague of fraud

(59 Posts)
Bigviking Wed 22-Feb-17 12:39:19

I have a colleague I've worked with for a long time. I'm senior to her, but we are close-ish due to the length of time we've worked together.

Some backstory - colleague was married and her exH had a well paid job. They split up about 6 years ago (they were having problems for some time, but split up due to her having an affair, and she has lived with the OM ever since). Her current partner does not earn nearly as much as her exH.

She has got herself into a right mess financially over the years. We've had multiple attachment of earnings requests due to debts not paid; debt collection companies ring her up everyday, etc. She regularly takes out pay-day loans, and she's had to borrow money from colleagues in the past. This is all mainly due to the fact that she hasn't adjusted her lifestyle since she split from her exH. She still takes holidays abroad, drives a nice car, has the latest iphone, etc.

To get to my WWYD - I know that my colleague has applied for pay day loans and credit online, using her partner's details. I've also heard her pretending to be him when talking to the bank about his accounts. She has access to all of his account details because she went through a process of trying to claim back PPI for them both. I think he couldn't be bothered with all the paperwork, so she got all of his details and wrote to the banks and PPI claim companies to try and get some money back.

I had always assumed that he is aware of what she was doing. But recently I've been suspecting more and more that he doesn't actually know. I don't have concrete evidence; it's mostly a gut feeling, but it's also based on conversations we've had or when I've heard her on the phone fobbing him off about why a standing order hasn't gone through, etc.

So, WWYD? Sometimes I feel like I want to tell the guy, but obviously that would have serious consequences for my colleague, and of course I could be wrong about the situation. And I know that none of this is any of my business anyway. I just keep thinking that it's all going to blow up and is it really bad that I've been suspecting something for a while but done nothing? I'm also worried about my colleague as I think she must be close to a breakdown with all the stress of people chasing her for money.

FooFighter99 Wed 22-Feb-17 12:45:21

I get where you are coming from in being worried about their situation, and while most people will say it's none of your business, I would seriously consider sending him some kind of anonymous message alerting him to her actions.

I would hope my DH's colleagues would do the same for me if they knew/suspected he was up to no good.

mrstomriddle Wed 22-Feb-17 12:45:54

I would do nothing. It's not your relationship and you don't know what's really going on between them.

But I understand it must be difficult to stand by and watch!! Money problems can be really horrible and watching someone struggle with debt isn't easy.

Heratnumber7 Wed 22-Feb-17 12:49:32

It is to do with you if you're in a position of seniority over her, and if it's likely her personal life will have a detrimental affect on her work.
I would tell her quietly that you've overheard her phone calls, and if she carries on you will have to report her.
You could also hint, as a friend, that you can't report what you don't know, so she should switch her phone off in work and deal with personal stuff in personal time.

OliviaStabler Wed 22-Feb-17 12:52:41

I'd also send an anonymous message. I know that it would be none of my business but I can't help think what the fallout for this man would be if he has no idea. I assume no one would believe that he didn't take out the loans himself and he'd have to pay them back and it could affect his credit rating. I would want to know.

Bigviking Wed 22-Feb-17 13:00:03

To be honest, I think he's pretty crap with money too. They've struggled to secure rental properties due to bad credit, so he obviously knows about that. However, I just don't know if he knows that she is making the situation worse by taking out pay day loans in his name. It's possible that he does know, which is one of the reasons why I'm hesitant about tipping him off. She's also going through a bad time at the moment, and I don't want to make things worse for her. If I'm right, and he finds out, she could end up in prison. Part of me feels that as I have no loyalty to her partner - I've only met him once - I should just ignore it. But then I feel absolutely terrible for him!

Himoverthere Wed 22-Feb-17 13:19:34

What you 'should' do rather depends on what job you and she do for a living.

As for her partner, that really is not your concern and anything you try to do will almost certainly exacerbate the situation and have the opposite of your intended effect.

All imho of course.

morningconstitutional2017 Wed 22-Feb-17 13:20:42

This is awful, I have a family member who's done similar things over the years, especially applying for loans on-line pretending to be her DH etc and being chased for money by numerous companies.
Whether you decide to say anything or not it will eventually blow up and the shit will hit the fan. Maybe have a quiet word with her first.

BeBeatrix Wed 22-Feb-17 13:23:55

The fact she's doing this in work time makes it your business.

I think you need to warn him, or talk to someone more senior, or something, but... definitely do something. You have reasonable grounds to suspect fraud - i.e. a criminal offence.

Wondermoomin Wed 22-Feb-17 13:25:29

Agree it depends on what sort of jobs you do as some are held to higher professional standards of conduct and you would be required to blow the whistle. (Eg if you work in banking, financial services, law, etc)

Bigviking Wed 22-Feb-17 13:49:33

Don't want to provide too much info, but we work in a professional services firm. She doesn't have access to firm bank accounts or anything like that, so there isn't a risk of internal fraud. That being said, I imagine that if she was investigated for fraud outside the firm, and certainly if she was prosecuted, then the firm would not want her to work in this department, or any other department for that matter.

CookieDoughKid Wed 22-Feb-17 13:53:49

If its during work time time and its an illegal criminal activity then you have a duty to report it. Identity threat is a crime. Like an assault and although I may not get involved I have a duty to report it.

Tatlerer Wed 22-Feb-17 13:56:07

I wonder whether, if this was a male colleague taking out pay day loans in his female partner's name, those who've said 'do and say nothing' might have an alternative view. Maybe not, just speculating.
IMO, you should send him an anonymous tip off, if that's at all possible. If you're wrong, and he does know all about it, no harm done. If you're right, then you can stop this poor bastard getting defrauded left, right and centre!

girlelephant Wed 22-Feb-17 13:58:00

Do you have an anonymous reporting line in work? If so I would report it to that. Failing that I would report to the police and let them handle it and contact her ex.

Himoverthere Wed 22-Feb-17 14:05:06

I would be really interested to hear how you would go about that Miss Marple-- girlelephant

FooFighter99 Wed 22-Feb-17 14:07:53

Have a look on here, everyone has a responsibility to report fraud.

TinselTwins Wed 22-Feb-17 14:10:24

I've had someone do this to me. The debt escalated to a CCJ before I became aware of it (due to being good with money and not regularly applying for credit, I had no way of knowing!) It took money and time to sort out, meanwhile:
I had to put plans to buy a home on hold even though I had saving and me and my partner were ready to buy a home.
I had to rent rooms privately because I couldn't pass credit checks.
I was living like a student at a time in my life when I was earning and saving enough to have my own home.
I was considering a career change to a career where this would have been a problem. That stopped.

Tell him. I was very lucky that I had the money and some proof to fight it and get it cleared, otherwise my life would have been in limbo for years

girlelephant Wed 22-Feb-17 14:13:31

Himoverthere I don't understand your comment? It would involve a simple phone call

MiddleClassProblem Wed 22-Feb-17 14:14:58

If I were you I prob wouldn't do anything unless I knew for sure

PigletWasPoohsFriend Wed 22-Feb-17 14:15:26

The fact she's doing this in work time makes it your business.

I agree. You have to say something.

GwenStaceyRocks Wed 22-Feb-17 14:35:58

If it's in work time then you can advise her to stop making calls in the office. I'm guessing there will be some contract conditions that cover it.
As for reporting 'the fraud' tbh unless you have more evidence than a gut feeling and half-heard conversations based on a shaky understanding of their relationship then I don't think you can or should do anything. A fraud allegation is extremely serious.

Bigviking Wed 22-Feb-17 14:44:10

Gwen, I agree, which is why I'm hesitant to say anything. An example of "evidence" that concerns me is this:

I saw an email that she sent to a loan company: "I have applied for a loan with yourselves but I have received a text message asking me to call X. I'm at work at the moment so can't talk, so please can I deal with your queries over email. Regards, Partner's Name". If her partner was aware that she was applying for these loans, I wouldn't have thought it would be a problem for him to answer a couple of questions over the phone.

It seems strange to me that he would not involve himself at all in these applications and leave it all up to her. I know that I don't know everything about their relationship, and this may well be something they've agreed between themselves. It just doesn't feel right.

Himoverthere Wed 22-Feb-17 14:52:19

GwenStaceyRocks apparently it is just a simple phone call........

Himoverthere Wed 22-Feb-17 14:54:03

Was that email from her work email account BV?

KungFuEric Wed 22-Feb-17 14:55:34

I think you should look at this from a work point of view. Taking personal calls during work is unacceptable. Accessing loan websites using work computer is unacceptable. Having pay day loans contact her (are they phoning on a work number? If so, it's bringing her professional character into question massively.)

Basically, stress that you already feel you know too much about her finances and personal life, and its wholly unprofessional behaviour.

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