Govt launches anti-fraud strategy

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Govt launches anti-fraud strategy
(Bence Szemerey)

The government has unveiled a raft of anti-fraud measures designed to tackle the £7bn scammers cost the UK each year.

Fraud now accounts for 40 per cent of crime in the UK, according to the National Audit Office, and UK consumers are more than twice as likely to be a victim of fraud than any other crime, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“New technologies are making these scams easier to do and harder to police,” prime minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement today (May 3).

“It’s time to take the fight to the scammers and fraudsters, and put an end to these crimes which can devastate lives and livelihoods within seconds.”

The measures include outlawing cold calls on financial products and Sim farms, as well as investing £30mn in a reporting centre and working with tech companies to simplify the process of reporting fraud online.

A new national fraud squad led by the National Crime Agency and City of London Police will be launched alongside 400 new posts, and the UK government will step up work with international partners and make greater use of the UK’s intelligence community to identify and stop overseas fraudsters.

Anthony Browne, an MP, has been appointed as an “anti-fraud champion”, with a remit to work with tech firms to encourage them to collaborate against scammers.

Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police, Pete O’Doherty said: “With more than half of all crime being fraud and cyber related, this strategy is essential to policing.

"We tackle and coordinate some of the most complex fraud cases across the country...but the national policing response to economic crime has been underpowered. 

“This new strategy...means that we can improve and coordinate the local to national response in order to stop fraudsters and better protect victims, ending the misery and devastation criminals cause.”  

Simon Miller, policy and communications director at Stop Scams UK, an industry-led body, said: “We welcome the additional new funding and the commitment to work closely with industry. But the journey has only just begun. 

“The government has rightly recognised the importance of public private partnership and collaboration as the most effective means of tackling the scams emergency.”