/ 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?

Jayantal Mistry says:
3 April 2019

Like with everything else, successive governments are fooling the general public by saying that the government don’t have the resources because, they are letting the situation out of hand and letting the crime on the increase!

Bobby v says:
3 April 2019

Maybe if we stopped sending all of our money overseas – to India as an example, when they claim poverty but have a space program ! or to the EU which is just one great scam after another
Then maybe, just maybe we could sort some of our own problems out and employ more police for a start

James says:
3 April 2019

The post Bobby V posted is the best idea I have heard for a long time, for to long this country has been milked dry by other country who claim poverty and yet has Booby pointed out building space programmes/warships/and other military hardware while there is abject poverty in there own country, if these politicians had to put there hands in there own pockets to give there own money away they would not be so keen to help these countries but there again while the tax papers “bowl” is at there disposal they dont give a “dam”

PJay says:
3 April 2019

Mmm, well said Bobby. Roll on Brexit eh?

D Gow says:
3 April 2019

I agree, this country has its own human crisis to care for!

Ali B says:
3 April 2019

I disagree that such actions would make too much difference to our domestic situation where fraud is such an increasingly troublesome crime. I would like to see the Banks take greater responsibility for the situation, but exactly how, I don’t know. We do see corporate greed and over-paid/rewarded heads of large companies, and in a way this encourages the criminals to emulate them through get-rich-quick schemes.What is the difference between a failing football manager, or head of a health trust or corporate director retiring just before the bubble bursts and receiving generous bonuses and these fraudsters? It is important that there is more accountability and where the head can be shown to have failed so as to be laid off (eg the failing football or health trust manager), the severance payment schemes should automatically be revoked. Where a manager or chairman of a corporation or bank that later goes bust in part or wholly because of the actions of the said person, the law should allow the institution and its shareholders recover the money paid out. Maybe such accountability will also then be more easily applied to institutions that get scammed through a failure of the management to put in place adequate protection for itself or its customers.

Barbara says:
3 April 2019

Fraud is growing and I believe this is happening because of the increased use of the internet. Access through the internet is very difficult to police and we are all ,probably, infultrated anyway. If the banks and government did not force us to use the internet so much I am sure it would reduce. Both need to compensate individuals who are effected as it is their policies that have caused the problems.
The growing inequality in our Western cultures is another cause of crime. Fairer societies are known to have less crime. Huge bonusses where the companies, banks etc. have failed or made a loss should not happen, and be against the law. Big bonuses have increased the financial divide between the poorer and the richer in this country.

Something should be done. But, what can the police do ? They have fewer resources, money and time to see to this. It’s a case of trying to allocate what they have and put it to best use.

It will mean a complete overhaul of the police, to set up a fraud investigation section in the same way as they have set up a traffic section to deal with motoring crime. There must be a reliable and safe means of reporting all scams, and a dedication and determination to solve them, and to catch the people responsible. It will obviously involve a worldwide cooperation, not just europewide, and sanctions will have to be taken against any country who does not support action against those scammers who operate from its soil!

Marilyn Wordley says:
3 April 2019

I lost £69,000 through a very clever fraud scam. I blame the banks. My money was moved in to 6 fraudulent bank accounts with Lloyds and Barclays and disappeared with four hours. The banks did not investigate the reported fraud until 24 hours after the event by which time the money had gone.

Terence Bayes says:
3 April 2019

The police forces should be adequately funded to fully investigate of criminality in all its forms.

Jim Alloway says:
3 April 2019

Surely civilian staff within the police could deal with investigating fraud

Patrick. says:
3 April 2019

It is sad this is the way people are being served by the law ,If the Government,s Tax Office was getting ripped off like this they would,nt be long putting the extra resources into them to put a stop to it.
Its a sad place to be when no one can help you.

Colin Sidney says:
3 April 2019

Unfortunately a significant of financial fraud is actually created by victims getting involved in EASY money scams due their own greed. Personally l don’t understand how people cash is taken out of their bank accounts when just their bank cards are taken, surely thieves would need their pin.

While a lack of resources might be true, the bigger problem is a lack of skills, the police are simply not ready for the 21st century and the cybercrime that comes with it.

Should we be surprised when we have such feckless ministers running the country, example: what the hell does Chris Grayling know about transport…

Part of the problem is that the Information Commissioner’s Office are doing nothing to enforce data protection law. As a result, unlawful collection of personal data, without the knowledge or consent of the data subject, and the fraudulent distribution of personal data to clandestine data processors are endemic across the data and marketing industry. If the illegal collectors/distributors of personal data were shut down, the entire vulture economy would collapse. Controlling who gets their claws into personal information would go a long way towards reducing fraud. As things are, I find I cannot even get the police (national fraud unit) to accept a reported fraud, let alone act on it. Local police forces cannot accept fraud reports. It is the ICO’s dereliction of duty that has led to this situation. I have spent five years reporting to the ICO and always, nothing hgappens. My complaints are filed away and ignored.

Shahina says:
3 April 2019

It is devastating to loose ur hard earned money and police should set up a different team to help with solving it may b have Volunteers from banking staff. Or retired police officers

Mr Jackie Davidson says:
3 April 2019

A sort of “New Tricks” team

Judith Gaffney says:
3 April 2019

The police should be tackling these real crimes instead of going after so called `hate ` crimes that are really no such thing

Wylie says:
3 April 2019

What a ridiculous comment. Are you are suggesting hate crimes are nonexistent? Or is it that you just don’t mind crimes committed against people because of their religious beliefs or sexual orientation etc?

Have recently been robbed of well over 50K by London Capital Finance, who have hidden 237 million pounds most of which administrators cannot find apart from possibly 20%. Arrests of directors by crime squad,but they were allowed to leave. One now in Spain ! The FCS were informed in 2015 by a financial advisor that company was not safe. However nothing was done and I and hundreds of thousand others continued to invest as given false information re all investments were more than backed by company’s assets! I am retired and this loss will have a direct affect on the quality of my life and family.

Angelo Greco says:
3 April 2019

This has to be tackled by the formation of specialists who in turn support police action. However, they most certainly should not be police officers but fraud specialists and IT specialists working with the police in the same way that Crime Scene Investigators do.

Could this be down to some of those who are supposed to be preventing or minimising fraud being fraudsters, and this makes it easier for them to hide behind the bureaucracy (like the MPs expenses scandal)? If tackling fraud was a high priority they are more likely to get caught!

Sheila says:
3 April 2019

The police should be adequately resourced to fight all kinds of crime. The force has been under resourced for quite a few years now whilst the demands on the police appears to have been increasing. The police force has been drastically reduced, presumably with the loss of experienced officers. Not only has there to be an increase in police numbers but they need to receive relevant training as newcomers to the police force and there needs to be relevant training to manage changes in the form of crime experienced today i.e. computer crime. There does not seem to be a quick solution.

John Kent LCGI says:
3 April 2019

As with all these scams it is the poor man in the street who ends up paying. If you have money to chase the perpetrator you win.

Each night show a half hour television programme listing of scams of the day!! Making people aware and giving them a heads up of the type of crimes going on ..

A few decades ago there was talk about introducing “Zero tolerance” which has been effective elsewhere in the world. That has now gone “by the board” because of the cost. This looks just at the cost in public funds, without balancing it against the savings to individuals who are defrauded and to banks and insurers who sometimes provide compensation. Then there are the effects of people being encouraged into crime with sometimes little chance of any redress. Other action could also be taken to limit internet money transfers only to registered traceable accounts.

Similar financial and other considerations could help with an attack on many other areas of crime.