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15,000 people fight back against fraudsters

9th July 2010

Action Fraud, the UK’s first national fraud reporting centre, has had 15,000 web reports and calls in the last six months from members of the public who have joined the fight against fraud. 

According to the National Fraud Authority, which runs Action Fraud, at least £3.5billion is lost by individuals to fraud every year.  However, the actual figure is probably much higher as many victims of fraud never report it.

The National Fraud Authority is today calling on everyone to make a noise about fraud and report to www.actionfraud.org.uk if you’ve been scammed, conned or defrauded.

Action Fraud takes crime reports from victims of fraud and provides a crime reference number.  This information is then fed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by the City of London Police, to gain a more complete national picture of fraud.  Action Fraud also provides a wide range of information about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Of the crime reports made, fraud loss has ranged from £6 to over £1million. The top five most commonly reported frauds in the last month were:

  1. Online shopping and auction fraud
  2. Advance fee frauds such as loan and psychic scams
  3. Romance and dating frauds
  4. Non-investment frauds such as miracle health and internet dialler scams
  5. Share sale fraud

The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General:
“We cannot afford to be complacent about fraud. It costs the UK economy some £30bn each year and causes substantial misery for its victims. As people become wise to one scam, yet another springs up.  There is no such thing as too much intelligence on the tactics and networks fraudsters use. The authorities need to look everywhere to piece together the jigsaw and everyone can play their part in reporting fraud, while in return arming themselves with the latest information.”

Dr Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the National Fraud Authority:
“Fraud, of any value, is a serious crime that devastates lives and often funds more organised crime like drug smuggling and people trafficking.  We’re very pleased to see so many people speaking up, but we know there are many more victims out there. People often feel embarrassed, but they shouldn’t.  There are many types of fraud and anyone can become a victim.  If you report it to www.actionfraud.org.uk you can help us fight the fraudsters and make the UK a more hostile environment for fraud.  It takes all of us to work together to fight fraud - staying silent lets the criminals get away with it.”

Brenda Parke, a victim of a romance scam who lost £60,000 earlier this year:
“With great hindsight, I can see how I became a victim.  My embarrassment is overwhelming but I know it’s important to take this step in reporting my experience to help other people avoid such devastating situations.  Anyone in a similar situation should stop and think before they hand over a single penny and I would urge anyone who is a victim to come forward and report this horrendous crime to Action Fraud.  The perpetrators manipulate you to pay a huge price financially and emotionally and I want to see fewer people becoming victims.” 

There are some simple rules everyone can all follow to help protect ourselves against fraud:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • If you didn’t enter a lottery…you haven’t won it
  • Ask questions - If someone is legitimate they won’t pressurise you or be elusive
  • Be very wary about giving your personal information to strangers or providing money up front
  • Always check the real company’s details against the ones you have been given, and ring them direct if you are in doubt
  • Don’t stay silent. If you’ve been targeted by a fraudster and lost money, contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040

Originally rolled out on a region by region basis, Action Fraud is now available nationally and provides the single place for victims of fraud to report to or to get advice on protecting themselves.  For more advice or to report a fraud, visit www.actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

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For more information, images or to arrange an interview please contact:
[email protected]
020 3356 1034

Notes to Editors

  1. The National Fraud Authority (NFA) runs Action Fraud, the UK's first national fraud reporting centre that provides a single point of contact for fraud victims where they can both report a fraud and seek guidance and advice
  2. The NFA established in 2008, is the Government's strategic lead organisation on counter-fraud activity in the UK. It works with a range of stakeholders across the private, public and third sector.
  3. The NFA’s objectives include: improving data sharing between public and private organisations; improving support to victims of fraud and improving awareness of fraud and self-protection from it.
  4. The City of London Police is the National Lead Force for fraud.