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Public urged to protect themselves against fraud

January 19th 2017

The Crime Survey of England and Wales, published today, is likely to indicate fraud and cybercrime now account for close to half of all crime, making people much more likely to be a victim of these crimes than any other. In July 2016, the crime survey indicated 3.8 million frauds and 2 million cybercrimes occurred in the 12 months to the end of March 2016.

With fraud the most prevalent crime type in England and Wales, City of London Police – the national lead force for economic crime – is urging the public to look at its advice, along with that of its partners including Get Safe Online, to protect themselves from falling victim to fraud and cybercrime.

The City of London Police are urging people to sign up to the Action Fraud alert system (www.actionfraud.police.uk/alerts) to ensure they have current information about frauds across the country. The alerts are generated by analysing reports to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber reporting centre, run by the force. The alerts are distributed via the Action Fraud alert system as well as to the 250,000 people who have signed up to the Neighbourhood Alert System. A recent survey of users of the Neighbourhood Alert System found that 87% of people said they had found it easier to spot a scam since receiving the Action Fraud Alerts. The survey also found that 74% of people said that the alerts had motivated them to be more active in crime prevention and community safety and 90% of had changed their fraud protection behavior since they had begun receiving Action Fraud alerts.

To help people better understand the fraud threat City of London Police has developed the Fraud Defence Test (www.frauddefencetest.com). The test, built with funding from the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund, is designed to help people understand fraud in relation to their particular circumstances and knowledge.  The test takes a couple of minutes and could give someone vital information to help prevent falling victim of fraud or cybercrime.  

In addition, City of London Police is also encouraging people to note fraud prevention advice from industry. A national fraud awareness campaign was launched last year, funded by the banking industry.  Entitled ‘Take Five’, the campaign advises people to ‘take five seconds’ to think before acting:

Stop and think

  1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
  2. Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic
  3. Don’t be rushed – a genuine organisation won’t mind waiting
  4. Listen to your instincts – you know if something doesn’t feel right
  5. Stay in control – don’t panic and make a decision you’ll regret

For more information on the campaign go to www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

In addition, advice on how people can protect themselves from specific frauds, such as those associated with online shopping and credit card fraud can be found on the Action Fraud website at www.actionfraud.police.uk

Commander Chris Greany, National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime and Chairman of Get Safe Online (shown here) said: “The Crime Survey of England and Wales shows us that fraud and cybercrime are the largest single crime types today, and the figures only include individuals and not businesses who are also victims."

He continued: “Policing is working closely with Government and the private sector to do what we can to arrest offenders, protect victims and provide suitable guidance to help support all people and businesses in preventing fraud. There are many ways we can all protect ourselves, websites such as Action Fraud and Take Five provide help and guidance as does our social media streams on twitter and Facebook.”