/ Money

Should fraud be a police priority?

A new report has found that when it comes to fraud, the police aren’t even putting their fists up to defend the public. Should it be a higher priority?

The police are fighting a losing battle against fraud.

The watchdog that oversees the performance of the police force, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, found that fraud is often deprioritised against other crimes.

Many forces don’t have enough resource to adequately investigate fraud and, in the instance of one police force, simply file away the overwhelming majority of cases without further investigation.

A fraud epidemic

We are in the midst of a fraud epidemic – around 3.3 million incidents were reported in the past year, and the estimated cost of fraud is in the billions – but it’s clear that the police are struggling to pull together the will and resource to tackle this emerging threat. And they claim there is no strategic leadership from government to help them in their fight against fraud.

Our own research has found that 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved.

In September last year, we found that just one in four cases that have been reported to Action Fraud in the past four years were forwarded onto local police forces, and we estimated that less than 1% of the those have been solved, and 3% were still being investigated.

Despite the fact that fraud and cyber-crime offences are now 10 times more common than burglary, it is clearly not getting the attention it desperately needs.

Just two weeks ago, the banking industry reported that criminals successfully stole £1.2bn through fraud and scams.

On the pages of Which? magazine and online, we repeatedly follow the stories of people who’ve lost life-changing sums of money to scams.

Victims left feeling abandoned

Too often, victims are left feeling abandoned and confused as investigations drag on with little sign of progress.

To show they are serious about winning the battle against increasingly sophisticated fraudsters, the government, police and banking industry must establish a more coordinated approach and make scams a top priority.

This is a threat to public safety – failing to stem tsunami of scams we face will make beating the fraudsters near-impossible in the future.

Do you think fraud should be a higher priority for the police?

Comments
Teresa may says:
3 April 2019

How can any body be blamed for fraud when the UK government allowed the banks to steal trillions through PPI etc!
Then when they had to pay for it they simply gave them money from the taxpayers.
All the scams in the world by amateurs doesn’t come close.

Suzy curry says:
3 April 2019

Absolutely appalling, cannot believe nothing is being addressed regarding fraud.
Surely everyone should have the right to have something so important investigated.
We need this promptly, straight away, right now……

Ron Strong says:
3 April 2019

People are being ripped off by this and loosing their life savings, the old people who need their savings as that is all they have, while these low life’s make a fortune in stealing it from them, and are allowed to now get away with it, this must stop now, the Government was wrong in cutting the Police numbers in the first place, it is their c**k up that started what is now happing in the world of crime, and it is now time we put this right, from Fraud to knives, lets all get together and get this right again, and tell this Government enough is enough and we want this now

Chris J says:
3 April 2019

I think the Police priority should be tackling violent crime. With limited Police rescouces the financial institutions and internet providers must spear-head the battle against fraud

Wylie says:
3 April 2019

Or we could just have an adequately funded police force!

Stuart Aitken says:
3 April 2019

It is the governments fault for all of this cyber crime As i dont know how the hackers get in to peoples computers with out permission As the best way to stop them is keep changing your password every so often

Terence says:
3 April 2019

I suspect that the reason the Police are innefectual is that they
simply do not have the manpower or necessary skills – well done
our hapless PM – more funding urgently HMG.

Disgraceful!! As a victim of a fraud the police, banks did nothing. The banks should be accountable as they allow fraudsters to open accounts in the first place. Crazy situation when they can’t give the police the information on who opens these accounts to defraud hardworking people.

I think it’s disgusting that the police are stopping investigating fraud if they spent less time trying to catch people speeding in their cars they might have more time to catch real criminals

Surely, the situation it is now calling for the FCA to occupy the place in the nation wide scene of “no financial policing” of the finance industry. The FCA only relates to its members, which is surely not what it should be doing. It should be restructured to the total market place and linked to the police and a fast track court system.

A central intelligence unit to combat fraud (with regional support teams) needs to established and properly funded by the home office, which would ensure expertise is concentrated, and would take the pressure off individual forces, thereby releasing resources to concentrate on local crime, be it burglary, car theft, knife crime, violence, drugs etc..
A coordinated approach to the growth in both online and targeted fraud is desperately needed.

Our daughter was the victim of a serial con man. It made her so ill that she could not face persuing it with the authorities. My wife and I did, on her behalf. I discovered several other victims, major company law breaches and the perpetrator still avtive and bragging through social media about his millionaire lifestyle. I submitted detailed reports and evidence to Action Fraud, Companies House, the Financial Conduct Authority and the West Midlands Police. Every one of them gave the impression that they were swamped by their workload and refused to persue the individual. Action Fraud should be renamed Inaction Fraud and the Police should have sufficient resources to persue the brighter fraudsters and not cherry-pick those easier cases to prosecute. My faith in the financial watchdog ‘establishment’ and the police is zero.

Organisations that trade via the internet have to be made to take greater responsibility to protect their customers from internet scams. Banks are generally aware of the problem and regularly warn their customers of scams. Unfortunately many other organisations take no action even when they are made aware of scams. For example I am a customer of Virgin Media, a few months ago I received an email purporting to come from them. It appeared very genuine, informing me that my direct debit had been deactivated and as no payment had been made they would suspend my internet service immediately if I did not reinstate the direct debit. The email included a link which would allow me to rectify the problem. I contacted Virgin Media who informed me the email was a scam and that they never contact customers by email regarding nonpayment. They always inform their customers by letter in cases of nonpayment. I informed them that they should advise their customers of this scam email and that they will always contact them by letter in such cases. To my knowledge they have never done this. However I was advised many months later by the local police fraud unit, via my Neighbourhood Watch, of this scam which is still going on. So what are Virgin Media doing? I have heard nothing from them since reporting the scam.

The banks are a law to themselves they get away with not protecting their customers even though they make a vast amount of money from peoples accounts by not giving a decent return.The government need to do a lot more in the public”s protection in money and in personal safety,invest more in the front line operations “Police,hospitals,and fire services.At the moment none of these are fit for service.

I know someone (fortunately not me personally) who had £52,000 taken from two bank accounts over a four hour preiod one afternoon, some two years ago. Reported to the police and Actionfraud, but to this day, not a single visit, letter, phone call or e-mail by way of reply.

Andy says:
3 April 2019

As a lot of fraud is perpetrated via email these days it should be a criminal offense just to send the email if its purpose is to deceive or trick the recipient. Also, a lot of them originate from overseas, so we should be able block the range of IP addresses used by any overseas ISP that doesn’t take action to stop offenders in their country. This would stop all email from that ISP and so would be a huge incentive for them to take action as their legitimate customers would put pressure on them when they also lost access to the UK.

Ice says:
3 April 2019

The government is cutting all budgets to zero so they can give our taxes to the EU and causing the local councils and other public departments to turn to the people to pay for there budgets. No doubt we will have to pay the police to investigate fraud in the near future.

Wylie says:
3 April 2019

What a load of rubbish. The government could block the use of tax havens to increase budgets but they won’t, many tory mps, and their backers use them themselves to defraud the public purse.

Legitimately sheltering wealth in a tax haven or other offshore vehicle is not defrauding the public purse, Wylie. So long as the law permits such forms of avoidance it will take place. It is HMRC, not the police, who are responsible for enforcing tax laws.

Like you, I wish the government would take preventive action to reduce these losses to the Exchequer, especially in the Crown dependencies, but there are countervailing considerations which make it difficult. We cannot change the policies of the ‘foreign’ tax havens but if we close down those under UK territorial supervision the money will go elsewhere, their economies will suffer, and the UK will be expected to make good their losses.

Fraud is institutional and starts at the top.
I’m seeing more institutional malfeasance in local councils and banks.
Website payments deliberately failing so you get extra fines, then you can only report issues through the internet which is also faulty from the same server gateway, so more fines, yay!…Your’e stuffed….
Then you pay cash into a bank to pay a simple council bill, the bank says there’s a problem with accepting cash payments and they won’t be held liable if the cash goes missing? So where does this cash end up you ask?
Perhaps the Andromeda Galaxy? An invisible black hole hidden in the bowels of the bankster cabal? In the deep dark pockets of the corrupt in the pursuit of a cashless society and further totalitarianism.
‘Our’ politicians work for lobbyists, banksters and the unelected elite, not you my democratic friend, no.

There is NO more accountability. Just ask the EU for their audits over the last 30 years or how much gold they have stored in 5 different locations across the planet. They don’t know.

You’ll be met with a deafening silence time after time.

A few years ago I was one of many who thought they were putting money in a “Green” investment. It turned out to be a “Ponzi” scheme. Some lost a large part of their life savings. The criminal who set it up is known. He fled to Dubai. What did the police do? Referred us to “Action Fraud”. I was given a reference number. That’s all I ever got from “Inaction Fraud”!

David Williams says:
3 April 2019

I was scammed during December 2018. I reported the matter on ActionFraud. I have a Crime Reference Number. Money was taken from our Bank account. ( sufficient money to buy a new car. )
The Bedfordshire Cyber Security Office Visited our house and reviewed the circumstances facts of the matter, The Cyber Security Officer gave myself and family well considered advice.
The work load of the Beds Cyber Crime Department was high and they were unable at this time to undertake a detailed investigation.

When Thatcher broke up the IBA and regulation was passed to the newly appointed Independent Television Commission there was a remit for regulation of the internet but the useless, career executive, left this side alone. It was the same when Ofcom took over. It is so easy for internet fraud to be carried out and it is so easy to be caught out as the scammers appear to be so genuine and convincing. Money schemes like Bitcoin make it so easy for scammers to threaten people and demand sums of money to drop their allegations and leave them alone. Old people and those who lack internet savvy are particularly at risk. I think that the police should use resources to stop this crime and protect the taxpayers who finances them. If this can’t be done then a proper regulatory body appointed by the Government should be set up.