Cyber Crime Thought To Be Behind Fraud Jump In UK

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Violent crime is going down as fraud continues to rise, with digital crime likely to blame

Whilst there was a significant drop in violent crime in 2013, there was a sharp rise in fraud, which experts have put down to a rise in digital attacks.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales, published by the Office for National Statistics, recorded a 15 percent overall fall in crime and a 22 percent drop in violent crime, but a 25 percent increase in fraud.

Violent crime down, cyber crime up

Arrest cyber crime security - Shutterstock - © Evlakhov ValeriyA total of 207,252 fraud offences were recorded by police bodies, including Action Fraud, which was set up to record online crimes other groups were failing to record.

Whilst the addition of Action Fraud data to this year’s ONS report would have contributed to the rise, many believe increasing cyber crime has played its part.

“The rise in fraud clearly highlights a growing issue that isn’t going to go away overnight. Both consumers and businesses need to be more vigilant when it comes to online payments as it’s dangerous to assume that they probably won’t be targeted,” said Michael Lane, channel and product director at Secure Trading, an online payment specialist.

“Instead, they should ensure they have the precautions in place to deal with fraudulent activity if we are going to reverse this trend.”

Many believe criminals are adopting online methods as they can be carried out with higher levels of anonymity than non-virtual crime.

Jon Collins of the Police Foundation told the Guardian: “Significant increases in levels of fraud, while likely to be at least in part a product of changes in reporting and recording practice, are of particular concern within this context. In welcoming falling crime rates, it’s important not to be blind to new and emerging challenges.”

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