In 2016 there were approximately 3.6 million fraud cases as well as 2 million computer misuse offences.
Previously, these cybercrimes were not included in the statistics from The Crime Survey for England and Wales.
Police figures reveal that there was an 8% increase in crimes altogether.
The head of crime statistics and analysis at the Office for National Statistics, John Flatley, spoke about how crime has changed.
He said “In the past, burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then.”
When talking about the beginning of the crime survey 35 years ago, he said “Fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.”
He went on to talk about fraud nowadays, with it being “the most commonly experienced offence.”
The Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, Sir Tom Windsor, spoke to BBC Radio 4 about how a lot of online fraud is carried out and goes unnoticed, meaning a lot of cases do not get passed onto the police.
“The amount of fraud that is taking place now is probably in epidemic proportions. The police are having to work very, very hard to keep up with even the ones they know about.
“The capability at police forces is quite skeletal and that needs to change and change a great deal.”
The types of fraud which are included to calculate the statistics are:
Bank account fraud – where the offender uses someone else’s bank account or credit card.
“Advance fee fraud” – this involves the victim being scammed into paying money in advance for a good, service or financial gain which doesn’t actually exist.
“Non-investment fraud” – victims are conned to buy something, possibly via a phone call or email.
Other types include investment fraud and false charities.
The 2 main groups of “computer misuse” offences are unauthorised access to personal data and computer viruses.
When speaking to BBC Radio 5, student accommodation business owner, Des Dillon, said he lost over £200,000 as a result of fraud.
He was deceived into sharing details over the phone which gave access to the company’s bank account.
“We’ve recouped £100,000, we’re outstanding £113,000. We managed to block and recoup the balance and now we’re fighting about the other portion of it.”
Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, Katy Worobec, claimed banks have been able to prevent £6 in every £10 attacked by fraudsters in the first 6 months of 2016. Despite this people still need to be conscious of the risk.
“While the industry invests in new systems to stop the criminals, fraudsters are increasingly targeting people directly,”
“Customers and businesses need to be alert to the treats posed by the continued rise in impersonation scams attempting to trick them out of their personal details and money.”
The only police force which didn’t find an increase in violent crime of 2016 was Nottinghamshire.
Revenge pornography and internet trolling were recently labelled as “violence against a person” offences. The ONS think this is a cause of the 22% increase from 2015.
Despite this rise, multiple reports have shown that the worldwide rate of crime has been decreasing for the past 25 years.
As the number of previously common crimes reduces, criminals turn to new methods of theft via the internet.
The most shocking thing is people’s lack of awareness towards the situation. Many cases of fraud and cybercrime go unreported.
Asides from London, it’s possible that police in other regions of the UK do not have the expertise necessary.
Brandon Lewis, a policing minister, said police reforms were “working” and that the number of crimes previously recorded (before cybercrime and fraud were counted) fell by 370,000.
He said that there would be a cybersecurity investment of £1.9 billion from the government over the next 5 years.
He also said “Understanding more about these crimes will help u continue to protect those who are vulnerable.”