Authorities wake up to £38bn robbery

WELL, its taken a fair bit of time, but hooray, crime fighting bodies in the UK seem to have finally woken up to the growing threat of fraud which now costs this country a staggering £38bn a year!

Despite the scale of this menace, police and other authorities showed very little interest in tackling this particular type of crime in recent years; up until recently that is. Whilst it would still be true to say that the police are still not interested in investigating completed frauds, moves are certainly being made to ramp up activities on prevention.

At a Fraud forum organised by Graydon in April, a police inspector from the recently established National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, told delegates that information gathering was key to fighting and preventing fraud in the future. Many organisations were being encouraged to sign up to delivering fraud data into the centralised computer at the NFIB, including big banks and the non profit making CIFAS. Once there, data can be more easily analysed by the police to identify “hot spots” (addresses commonly used by fraudsters), and connections between individuals and gangs.

On the 5th May, the Daily Telegraph reported that the charity Crimestoppers has also turned its attention to fraud for the first time in its 23-year history. Apparently, only 5% of the 80,000 crimes reported to Crimestoppers relate to fraud, but since the organisation added a fraud section on its website, traffic has actually doubled.

For far too long, criminals have been attracted to fraud because the risks of being caught have been perceived as lower than many other crimes. Maybe, the heightened profile of all this enthusiastic fraud prevention and data sharing will serve as a greater deterrent. Even if conviction rates don’t rise sharply as a result, fraudsters might find it more difficult to perpetrate their crimes against a better informed and more wary population.

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