Alex Wood is a Cybercrime, Social Engineering and Counter Fraud Speaker
Alex Wood’s early career was in the music industry. From the age of 13 he toured the world as a violin soloist and performed under the greatest conductors of the modern era. He was awarded prestigious scholarships to attend the Purcell School, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Royal College of Music, winning an array of prizes along the way and becoming a regular guest at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle
At the age of 24 his career was abruptly halted by the onset of repetitive strain injury (RSI) in his right hand. Faced with mounting debts and no source of income, his criminal career began. His life spiralled out of control, culminating in several years spent in prison for dishonesty offences – everything from impersonating the 13th Duke of Marlborough to committing multi-million-pound cybercrime.
“I barely heard the judge’s words when he sentenced me to seven years. I felt like the most disgusting person on this planet. How could I have inflicted such unthinkable, irreparable pain and grief upon an innocent man and the business he and his family had worked tirelessly to build?”
As Alex Wood listened to the victim impact statements during his final sentencing hearing, so began his redemption journey. Since his release from jail in early 2022, Alex has turned his life around and become an immensely powerful force in the Counter Fraud profession.
In February 2023 he was a Keynote Speaker at Counter Fraud 2023 (organised by the Cabinet Office, GovNet and the Public Sector Fraud Authority). In March 2023 he spoke at the LBFIG (London Boroughs’ Fraud Investigators’ Group) AGM at Pinsent Masons’ HQ. In May 2023, Alex was the Keynote Speaker at the National Investigations Conference (NICONF23) in Birmingham, where he presented a speech entitled ‘Inside the Mind of a Criminal’ and in June 2023, he was the Keynote Speaker at the LA Financial Investigators Forum, talking about everything from social engineering to underworld banking.
In addition to Public Sector speaking, he delivers speeches and consultation to leading global financial institutions (including Tier 1 banks such as NatWest PLC, insurance providers, law firms and risk experts such as Experian PLC) to enable a deep understanding of the ‘Fraud Mindset’ as well as sophisticated ‘Social Engineering’ techniques.
Alex’s story is unique and enthralling as he takes the audience on a journey to glimpse into the world of the criminal mind. He is deeply committed to atoning for his crimes and campaigns tirelessly to educate future generations and institutions on the dangers and risks of fraud. Alex is working on a national strategy, in partnership with leading financial institutions, lawyers, Police forces and Government to educate children about the risks of involvement in mule activity.
Alex Wood has been nominated for the awards of ‘Newcomer of the Year’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution’ in the Public Sector Fraud Awards 2024 (sponsored by the Cabinet Office).
Whilst in prison, Alex was signed by the world-leading literary agent Andrew Lownie. His story is now the subject of a major documentary (in production) by the multi award-winning film makers Chris Atkins and Louis Theroux (Mindhouse Productions).
- Combatting Fraud by Eliminating Mule Accounts: How can we detect and close Mule Accounts prior to a Fraudulent Event?
- Future Threats for Generative AI: An Opportunity for Bad Actors?
- Underworld Banking: What are the Cross-Border Threats posed by the likes of Hawala and Daigou?
- Inside the Mind of a Criminal: From the Fraud Mindset to the Psychopathy Spectrum.
- Deep Social Engineering: I am not the Duke of Marlborough and nor am I calling from your Bank!
“I was very fortunate to see Alex at the 2023 Counter Fraud conference, where he captivated the audience with his talk on how fraud could be combated by eliminating mule accounts. He’s now using his life experiences for good, educating the public and private sector and leading the industry to better detect and deter Financial Crime. His insights are unique. He teaches what operational experience alone can’t. To prevent Financial Crime, you need to know how a criminal thinks, assess vulnerabilities and then build your defences. This is where Alex’s background can offer unparalleled learnings.”
— Grant MacDonald, Director of Financial Crime Market Engagement, Experian