Author: Toni Jackson

It couldn’t happen to me

Did you know that people are more likely to be a victim of fraud or cybercrime than any other type of crime? Can you spot all the different scams? Here we take you through several of the more common scams doing the rounds and provide useful contacts to report them, as necessary.  

  1. Copycat websites – make sure if you are using a search engine that you check that the site you select from the search results is a genuine valid site. Some sites even offer you options to do business with government agencies for a fee when a fee is not actually required. Note: some search results will be shown as Ads (Adverts) – if responding to any of these please check they are genuine. 
  1. Phishing emails/texts/letters, so called as they fish for personal, often banking data. If you receive emails (particularly unsolicited ones) asking you to click a link to update your account/banking/card details, always be VERY suspicious.  Similarly, if someone asks you for your bank/other account details through a chat/community platform, do not supply.  Banks rarely ask for your details in this way. If you receive such requests – do not respond to the details provided in the email/text/letter – but contact your supplier direct by phone or email using the contact details on your usual statements to check the validity of the email/text/letter. These frauds may also encourage you to enter your username/password from other services eg your internet/mobile phone/utilities account. Be very suspicious, and check validity with your providers.   
  1. Online sales sites – eg Facebook Marketplace/ eBay etc – if an offer is too good to be true then it probably is! Carry out some investigation into the seller, do they have positive feedback – do they look to be a genuine person? Do they suddenly ask you to make a payment outside the selling services normal routes – note “friends & family” payment options are not covered by standard payment protection options, designed to protect your purchase? Do they ask you to make a special insurance payment so they can arrange collection by courier?  In these cases you will be encouraged to make a token payment up front which will (in theory) be refunded when they pay – do not be fooled and do not send money after all they are the purchaser not you.  
  1. Problem with your computer/router/broadband etc. If you receive a cold call informing you that there is a problem with your equipment or the broadband etc and you are at risk of a virus or someone hacking into your accounts, simply put the phone down. Microsoft or major phone/internet providers do not ring up their customers to tell them about issues, and anyway they have no way of knowing about the issue remotely. If you are concerned, then contact your phone/internet provider direct using the details they provide in your statement. 
  1. Catfishing – this is where someone creates a fake/fictional identity to compromise another person in some way, this often involves developing an online friendship/relationship (to gain your trust and learn as much about you as possible) with a view to fraudulently obtaining money or simply to create upset. You should be cautious about people reaching out for new friendships, especially if they start to ask for money. 
  1. Scams on Facebook – if you are dealing with a company on Facebook check they are genuine and verified – this is shown by a blue tick after the company name. So, if you find a site offering free £100 shopping vouchers for the first 50 customers – double check that the site/page is a genuine business page by the blue tick. As an extra check there is a Page Transparency section – which will provide more information on who is responsible and the length of time the page has been operational. 
  1. Text messages – asking for payment for parcels to be delivered. These are unlikely to be genuine – again the best advice is to telephone or visit your delivery centre on their published direct number obtained from the company website. Do not contact them using the details provided on the card, as this will simply put you in direct contact with the scammers. 
  1. Fake COVID passes – you will never be required to purchase a COVID pass or booster, so ignore any requests to purchase. 
  1. Fake gift cards – remember if an offer sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t. If you receive a request to click a link to activate your free gift card – visit the company’s genuine site/telephone to check. 
  1. Insecure sites – one indicator that a site is not genuine is the lack of relevant cyber security – indicated by a padlock icon in the website browser.  If you don’t see this symbol or your browser warns you the site doesn’t have an up-to-date security certificate, that should be a warning to you to exit the site. Never provide any personal details unless the site is secure as a minimum.  But it is still important to check it is a genuine site and not a scam site. 

More information advice and examples are given in the links below: 

Service Design – User feedback

Helping design services to make them user centred and easy to use is what we do in the Service Design team.  

Recently, some of our colleagues who run public facing services procured a new back-end system. It gifted us a great opportunity to build a low fidelity prototype to show them what a fully digital end to end customer experience could look like for them. 

We built a small team to work on this, with skillsets of Service Design, Content Design and User Experience Design. 

We are testing this prototype to get feedback from a small group of users, which – together with input from the service – will allow us to move to a high-fidelity alpha prototype that we can test and iterate with more users.  

We have used a few different systems to allow us to work in an innovative and collaborative way. We started by creating a Miro board to allow us to group together all the information we had about the service and to gather research about what other local authorities were doing in this space. We also use the Miro board to run our sprint retrospective and planning sessions. The beauty of Miro is that collaboration is so easy, the team was able to work well together from the get-go.  

We also used Figma to build the prototype. It allows multiple team members to work on a single project. It also lets you to build up libraries of reusable components, which the whole team has access to. Finally, you can use it to do all kinds of work, such as website prototypes, interface design or graphic design and everything in between. 

Once we started to think about testing, we used Maze to create a self-guided test script. Maze lets you import a prototype directly from Figma, then ask users to complete specific tasks by interacting with the prototype. It’s a really simple way to get some high-level feedback remotely, as users can do it in their own time, on their devices. As well as testing end-to-end journeys, you can ask multiple choice questions to help guide the design of individual elements. This is a great complement to more intensive and traditional one-to-one testing, which typically takes more time. 

As we develop the service, we will share updates with you about our progress.

Service Design – what does this really mean for you?

LBH is taking Service design seriously – setting up a dedicated team to help deliver services.

So, what is Service design, well it is what is “says on the tin” the design of services, and what is a service I hear you ask? Well, that is simply something that helps a user to do something, eg report a missed bin, become a childminder, buy a theatre ticket.

Conventionally council teams work independently and yet often the services they provide are really made up of separate items, and tasks many of which are reusable. Service designers look at how the pieces of the puzzle fit together checking how well they work for the users of the services (customer/businesses/residents/visitors/staff etc.) and suggest way to rebuild so that the user experience is simple and effective.

A bad service is expensive, if the user is unable to easily achieve what they set out to do, then it will be costly to LBH in terms of phone calls, repeated communications and often duplication of data entry. It is also costly to the user, they must spend more time trying to do something, chasing the council for updates, and writing more complaints when dissatisfied. Staff are also frustrated and demoralised as they seem to always be firefighting and workload pressures are high and no one’s needs are satisfied.

Process map

In creating a service that your customers can use easily, that does what they want, they will return and reuse, and even tell their friends. We will have more happy customers satisfied at first point of contact, therefore fewer repeat conversions about a single translation and fewer complaints. This also reduces workload for internal teams, win win.

Service design is about understanding your users:

  • What do they want to do?
  • How can we make it easy for them to do?

Check out the video for an example of service design which I am sure many of us relate to. Think about why Uber, Amazon, and Expedia are successful.

London College of Communication explain Service Design

Projects we are currently helping with:

  • Housing – understanding the user journeys, mapping processes in use currently
  • Children’s safeguarding – mapping complex processes in use and identifying touch points with other agencies.
  • Digital & IT – looking at internal processes for managing assets eg laptops and software to improve efficiency of process (reduce double entry).
  • Web design and accessibility – providing advice on best practice for website design to improve customer journey and ensure accessible to all.
  • Pest control – understanding the customer’s needs and defining a prototype to allow users to book online rather than call the Contact Centre; developing an end-to-end process.

What does this mean for our residents and businesses?

  • Available services – we understand that you want to be able to access the services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
  • Reliable Services – the service should work and be easy to use.
  • Joined up services – to minimise the number of times we ask you for the same piece of information. 
  • Keep you informed – providing you with simple updates so you know your request is being handled.
  • Improved efficiency – by reviewing our processes and removing duplication, and reusing the elements that work well, we will improve efficiency and “make every penny count.”

Check back to find out ways you can help us to help you, we will shortly be looking to recruit residents and businesses, to better understand how you want to access the services we provide.