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Annual survey unveils 3.6 million cases of fraud

Fraud and cybercrime now account for almost half of all crime


An estimated 3.6m cases of fraud and 2m computer misuse offences were unveiled in the annual Crime Survey for England & Wales conducted by the Office for National Statistics.

An estimated 8 in 100 adults are hit by fraud, which is higher than for any other offence type measured in the survey.

While traditional crimes such as burglary and vehicle theft continue to fall, fraud and cyber offences account for nearly half of all crimes recorded in the survey.

Our guides can help you spot common signs of online scams.

Take action on fraud online

Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which?, said: ‘These statistics show the staggering number of people who have fallen victim to fraud, and with scams becoming ever more sophisticated, it’s clear that the government, regulators and businesses need to do much more to protect consumers.

‘We know that people can lose life-changing sums of money through bank transfer fraud and they currently have no legal right to get their money back from the banks.

‘With so much fraud unreported, unrecorded and undetected, this needs urgent attention.’

Which? is campaigning for action on scams and you can show your support by signing the petition here.

As technology becomes more advanced, so do the methods fraudsters use to scam us. So knowing what to look for and how to avoid scams is the best way to stay safe.

Read our tips to protect yourself against internet scams.

Increasing diversity of scams

Fraud and computer misuse crimes were included for the first time in this annual report, which looked at the incidence rates and numbers of offences for a year ending September 2016.

The most common types experienced were bank and credit account fraud followed by non-investment fraud, which includes scams related to fraudulent computer service calls or online shopping.

Which? has seen an increase in the number of non-investment frauds reported recently, including an Amazon scam email going after bank details and a scam targeting Scottish Netflix users to update membership details.

Frauds referred to police increased by 3% year-on-year, while industry data showed cases on UK-issued cards jumped by nearly two fifths to 1.9m.

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