/ 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
Tahng Ork says:
4 April 2019

If the police used half the resources they use to catch motorists minor infractions they would have enough manpower and funds to follow up scams and cyber crime whereas at the moment they will only record the crime with no action taken.
For those saying the police are under-manned just watch how many will chase a motorist..
My brother was scammed out of £8500 via eBay and nobody cared.

M.P.R.Stephenson . says:
4 April 2019

Street crime up , and rising for twenty years , police numbers down . White collar crime needs looking at more closely too .It would cost the government more money , and therefore , a non – starter ; and don’t kid yourself that a Labour government would not be any different !

Agreed crime does not appear to be a priority to Tories/Labour .I read a report about tax fraud for 8 billion Tax man was aware of this scam ,but did nothing about it .The money apparently went to fund terrorists , this is very bad ,so if they will not act for that money /use of against us watch chance do we have .

You have hit the nail on the head, policing fraud’s will cost too much now. The approved regulators, The Financial Services Authority, Solicitors Regulation Authority, and many others do not investigate or provide accountability to fraud, and I agree with you it would cost too much to put right the systemic reduction of policing in the UK, so maybe if the Government ordered the regulators to stop mitigating fraud into misconduct, engage with as it is fraud, the investigation cost would be minimal. Then obligate their findings to be passed to the police (the regulators of all citizens) to prosecute.

Hi Jeff, it never will be a priority whist Government acts in wilful denial and seeks excuses. One high profile investigator/prosecutor has stated in public, to prosecute those (the big boys) who deceive through tax and financial fraud would cost a reputed £200 million, but could net in his opinion £3.5 billion. Now I call that a fantastic investment for a potential return. Trouble is some of those prosecuted will have a MP as a director.

M.wiles says:
4 April 2019

The scams attack the old and vunrable those looking to substantiate their pensions it’s wrong anyone should lose their life savings and the people who do it stick two fingers up to the law and get away with it heavy prison sentences sequestion of their funds property and assets should be the norm

Our overworked, apparently unappreciated Police force should investigate all crime but cyber fraud is such a specialised area perhaps they could be given assistance from Banks, HMRC and Insurance companies all of whom are affected by such thievery?

The route causation of many serious frauds is complacency or conspiracy through regulation, where the regulators wilfully prevent fraud from being detected through mitigation of fraud into misconduct when regulating. After 9 years exposed to systemic fraud by a regulator and regulated (fraud has many arms) ‘who regulates the regulators’. According to the Government (signed letter) their Agencies and Entities (SRA & FCA) are not ‘autonomous’ (having freedom to govern itself) from Government but ‘independent’ (not subject to another’s authority), and because they are independent neither Government Ministers or MP’s cannot challenge those they put in a position of trust (as in a signed letter). Therefore to achieve better protection from fraud and policing, with the minimum of investment and manpower, make regulators accountable to engage with professionals frauds and provide redress for fraud by those they regulate. Achieve this and all professionals who are fraudsters would be held accountable, this includes those clients they aid to defraud the general public, which I assure you I have the evidence they are not, in fact have made MoU’s to prevent fraud being discovered.

Of course fraud should be a police priority, but I bet I won’t be the first to say that, quelle surprise, it’s a question of resources, diminishing ones at that.

Dave Woolven says:
4 April 2019

I tried to contact the Fraud action line about scam emails but they just ran me around in circles – they just did not want to know. I gave up

JOHN WESTER says:
4 April 2019

I have lost most of my savings to a fraud involving Bitcoin I later found out that the company was not registered when I asked them for my money back I never heard from them again. I reported it to the fraud department 2 months ago and as of yet no reply. This should be made a serious crime as it has made people’s lives hell having their hard earned money taken away by these people.

Fraud has existed as long as the human race, primarily owing to the rapacious nature of humankind. But what we’re discussing in here is really the stable door and its associated locking equipment.

Things have never changed quite as swiftly as they have over the past 20 years – particularly in finance. Up to a few short years ago we were all using cheques or cash, but the rate of change involving the internet has been rapid and unprecedented.

Sadly, it hasn’t been accompanied by the programme of education that’s essential to protect those who are unfamiliar with computing and computers which, if I had to hazard a guess, probably number in the millions.

So what’s essential is for the Police to commission an ad agency to initiate an education programme. This would have to be accompanied by community classes, meetings, self-help groups and cooperative endeavours, but the Police could take the lead in this.

Education works. Just one hour of an Attenborough documentary has changed the way most people view plastic. Executed well it could mark a sea change in the quantity of easy pickings some scammers have enjoyed for far too long. But it has to be done well, which is why the Police should initiate it but leave the professionals in the media to bring it to the screen. The police would have a role – a major role – in the follow-up community work.

And we have all have a responsibility to educate our own families and friends. Try to get them to see callers as strangers on the street and apply the same rules of caution as they would in person. Bolt the stable door and check carefully before opening.

Looking into zoology, e.g. for the cuckoo, I wonder if fraud predates the human race?

Certainly seems to with chimps and crows, as well. And how about the humble virus? Perhaps fraud is the default setting for life.

That rings a bell, in fact. There was a Cambridge bod some years ago who argued that criminals of all kinds are the ‘normals’. He argued that staying within the law is a conditioned behaviour born out of fear.

What proportion of our financial system is based on fraudulent operations – national and international?

g barton says:
4 April 2019

its not the police fault its this useless government we got only think of there selfs

My family has been defrauded of all my husbands pension although it was in a SIPP. The financial advisor has invested in a company he set up without our knowledge & has disappeared. The fraud squad are a waste of time, you report expecting some action, complain about their inability to reply and hear absolutely nothing. This can’t be right at the moment in our country fraud obviously pays. If people can get away with doing things illegally & no one is interested. What are we
supposed to do to get help.?
Our money should have been safe within the SIPP where it had been for a number of years. It has been devastating for us as a family.

1. It should be possible to trace funds from deposit through all bank accounts to final account where any funds are taken out. Funds should not be sent out of the UK without a double check on the receiving bank and account holder. Account holders must be clearly identified – biometric checks etc.
2. Banks must take more care when establishing all accounts. Companies must provide an identifiable list of those authorised to take out funds.
3. Those taking out large amounts of cash and closing accounts should provide additional identify and addresses.
4. While the police can and should help in some cases, the onus should be put on the banks to know exactly where the funds have ended up and who withdrew funds. This would make it easier for the police to trace suspect individuals.

Laftec says:
4 April 2019

It has to be dealt with as a priority as if it is not it will only escalate. The Police Report pages online make it too complicated for people to fill in and so many frauds are not reported . I found that after filling in pages of answers and ticking boxes, I gave up…took too long . This goes for reporting scam telephone calls.

Miss j says:
4 April 2019

It’s not like the banks can’t afford to put more into protecting their customers! The government must, as a matter of urgency, introduce some kind of regulation that limits the staggering sums of money being taken by executives as personal bonuses when their failings are so catastrophic over and over again. And there would still be plenty left over.

Indeed. The banks should spend whatever is necessary and then recoup the costs from their customers.

The seriousness of financial fraud affecting the lives of people cannot be understated.
The police must be fully funded to maximise their efforts in tackling this problem.

I became a victim of ex partner who is Polish and left fraud on the address.He committed crime,debt,fraud involving 3 countries Spain,England and Poland.He was driving as it turned out for 2 years in England without Car Insurance,without Road Tax for 2 years!!! I thought to myself how is it possible.He was reported to the Police,Home Office and they have done nothing.He is living in luxury he cannot afford and I am ill and have to make repayments because he does not live here no more-that is what he says and he is changing address one after another! I was told I can take him to the Court for debts.Who can afford pay for THE Court if you are ill?I went out from my own home 16 times in 2 years because of diseases like Endometriosis,Hashimoto-thyroid and bowel disease.People have no rights.But I am not giving up.I get in touch from time to time via email to HMRC,National Crime Agency and I will finally make it public in the papers.Shame on the government!!I was never in any conflict with the law,of any kind but now I know that this country is paradise for crime and I am not surprised at all that people become criminalists.It pays.Not that I would in encourage anybody but there is no punishment for fraud,crime so people are doing it.

Bill says:
4 April 2019

Getfinancial.com online investment to Bitcom talked the talk and walked the walk for 3 weeks l was stupid enought to beleive what they said and parted with my money in good faith and then site blocked me form entering and no replys to emails or phone calls to them Charlie Frazer & Co need to be blocked from the web totally to stop stealing the every day working peoples money. Do Not use GetFinancil people DO NOT USE !!

Brenda Ward says:
4 April 2019

I voted no because I think the police and government have enough on their plates with knife crime, burgalaries etc., and the problem should be stopped by the internet providers at source. They have the money and resources to deal with fraud. Let them reimburse the victim.

christine porter says:
4 April 2019

we need more police for most thing these the police can’t be in 2/ 3 places at once there is to much knife crime as well as fraud crime as well as cyber crime so it all come back to the goverment to give us back a good police force

Ivor Barclay says:
4 April 2019

The small company I work for has at least 6 scam emails per day.