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ONS fraud statistics

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows a a 12 per cent increase in total crime, driven by a 43pc increase in fraud and computer misuse for the year ending June 2021 compared with the pre-COVID year ending June 2019.

While the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that patterns of crime in the year ending June 2021 have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact, it also says that fraud and computer misuse offences do not follow the lockdown-related pattern of reduced victimisation. Increases in these offences more than offset the reductions seen for other types of crime.

Police recorded crime data show a similar pattern to the crime survey, due to the pandemic done over the phone and not in person, with overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown. Total crime excluding fraud and computer misuse decreased by 14pc compared with the year ending June 2019. This was largely driven by an 18% decrease in theft offences

Josh Gunnell, head of fraud and ID pre-sales at TransUnion in the UK, says the statistics confirm that digital fraud levels remain alarmingly high, meaning cyber threats will remain a real concern to businesses and consumers alike. “Of particular alarm, is the 71pc increase in remote banking fraud (to 94,180 incidents), which proves fraudsters remain unperturbed in their efforts to exploit the surge in new users of internet, telephone and mobile banking technology.

“Unfortunately, this uptick in digital fraud offences isn’t limited to the personal banking space. Rather, the latest data points to a 32pc increase in any fraudulent activity compared with the year ending June 2019, including significant increases in consumer and retail fraud, advance fee fraud and other fraud.

“Scammers know people want to get great deals as we approach the festive period, so it creates a perfect storm at peak e-commerce periods to lure those looking to save. With consumers being ushered towards online retailers due to in-store stock shortages and pandemic-related restrictions, this figure could yet increase further, re-emphasising the need for us all to remain hyper vigilant when it comes to spotting the signs of criminal activity online.

“For businesses, this means tackling fraudster’s heightened levels of organisation and technological sophistication by being more proactive and predictive in their fight against fraud. Across all sectors, organisations need to continually review their prevention strategies, adopt data-driven insights and collaborate with each other to gain as much knowledge as possible.”


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