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Do you live in scam central?

Which? analysis reveals Britain’s fraud hotspots

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Our analysis of new data from Action Fraud reveals the South Wales county of Monmouthshire to be a fraud hotspot.

It has the highest reports per 10,000 residents in three types of fraud: computer software service fraud; cheque, plastic card and online banking fraud, and advance fee frauds.

Types of fraud

Computer software service fraud typically involves a bogus phone call claiming to be from the technical support department at Microsoft or Apple. The fraudster tricks the victim into installing malicious software on their computer or handing over credit card details in order to fix a problem.

Cheque, plastic card and online banking fraud includes transactions carried out using stolen credit or debit card numbers.

Advance fee frauds involve scams where victims are persuaded to pay an upfront fee for a service that does not exist. This includes callers offering to make a Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claim on the victim’s behalf in return for a fee – but the service never materialises.

Britain’s fraud hotspots

    Fraud type Reports per 10,000 residents National average reports per 10,000 residents
1. Monmouthshire Multiple fraud types 10.2* 2.3*
2. Essex Cheque, plastic card and online banking fraud 5.0 2.5
3. Gloucestershire Computer software service fraud 3.8 2.5
4. Durham Advance fee frauds 3.3 1.7

 * Average of three categories.

The figures come from Which? analysis of crime and information reports gathered by Action Fraud, the national centre for fraud reporting, in the five months to the end of June 2014.

Gwent Police, whose jurisdiction includes Monmouthshire, couldn’t shed any light as to why the area has recorded higher rates of fraud, but some of these hotspots exist because cases involve a fraudster gaining physical access to victims’ post, or because the fraudster makes use of local knowledge.

You can find out the most commonly reported types of fraud in your area on the Action Fraud website. And we’ve got all the advice you need to avoid becoming a victim of scams.

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