Police prevents £94.5m of fraud

Police prevents £94.5m of fraud

An estimated £94.5m of fraud was prevented last year by a police unit sponsored by the financial services industry, with 11 organised crime groups disrupted in the process.

Since its establishment in 2002 the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) has saved £600m in reduced fraudulent activity, with last year’s figures proving a record number for the group.

The DCPCU is a specialist anti-fraud police unit sponsored by the financial services industry and made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, bank investigators and UK Finance staff.

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In 2018 the DCPCU secured 48 convictions in relation to fraud, with defendants sentenced to a total exceeding 58 years in prison.

The police unit recovered more than 32,000 compromised card numbers, a 65 per cent increase on the previous year, and awarded £176,000 in compensation to victims.

Detective Chief Inspector Glyn Whittick, head of unit of the DCPCU, said: "The hard work of our officers and staff has prevented millions of pounds of fraud while refunding a substantial amount to victims.

"The dozens of convictions over the past twelve months demonstrate what can be achieved through close collaboration between police and the finance industry."

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, warned fraudsters were using increasingly sophisticated techniques. 

She said: "Always question any uninvited approaches to transfer money or give away your personal details in case they are a scam, and instead contact the company directly on a known phone number or email you can trust, such as the one on their official website."

One fraudster successfully convicted with the help of the DCPCU had lived a "lavish" lifestyle of first class flights and luxury hotels, funded by card numbers from the dark web and data stolen from high-end hotels in York. 

The police could prove losses in excess of £300,000, although the DCPCU reported the real figure was thought to be much higher, and the fraudster was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in January 2018.