In this article, Ashima Bhargava of Amity Law School, Lucknow discusses What system does UK Police provide to the people to report Fraud and Scam.
In the UK, earlier Fraud was not counted as a crime. Even since thirty five years ago, when the crime survey was started, fraud was not considered as a significant threat and the internet also had yet to be invented. But today if we wish to have a look at the percentage, we notice that how crime has changed, with fraud which is now considered the most common experienced offence. The amount of fraud that is taking place now is probably in epidemic proportions.
Multiple variants of Fraud observed
- Bank and credit account fraud: meaning criminals accessing bank accounts, credit cards or fraudulently using plastic card details.
- Advance fee fraud: crimes where the victim has been tricked into handing over cash after a communication, such as a lottery scam.
- Non- investment fraud: criminals conning a victim into buying something, often online, perhaps through a bogus call or an email.
- Other frauds including investment or fake charity scams.
What constitutes a Scam
On the other side, scams are defined as an illegal plan for making money, especially one that involves tricking people. Scams be made through an investigation or a whistle blower. Like frauds, there are different types of scams also, they are,
- Lottery, Sweepstakes and competition scams: it’s like an email, text message or a sweepstake company arriving out of nowhere.
- Dating and romance scams: Scammers create fake profiles and illegitimate dating websites.
- Computer hacking: phishing emails are commonly used by scammers to trick you into giving them access to your personal information by encouraging you to click on the link or an attachment.
- Online shopping, classified and auction scams: Scammers like shopping online for victims.
- Banking, credit and online account scams: they send emails or text which appear to come from your bank account but are actually not.
- Small business scams: if you own a business, you can be scammed for issuing fake bills for any advertisement or a product.
- Job and employment: these scams involve persuading the person to work from home or a business opportunity.
- Golden opportunity and gambling scams: scams often begin with an expected phone call and initiate the person to not to miss that phone call.
- Charity and medical scams: they take undue advantage of people on account of their health.
From where does the statistics related to Fraud and Scams come from in the UK?
- There are two main sources used in the official statistics on Fraud: police recorded crime and the crime survey for England and Wales(CSEW). Information available from each source differs, as does their coverage.
- The CSEW is a household survey, and as such information collected is restricted to crimes affecting the resident adult population. In comparison, police recorded crime has broader coverage, including fraud against businesses and other organisations which are not covered by the CSEW.
- Though the crime figures of the fraud offences are recorded by the Action Fraud as well as the industry bodies who refer offences to the police via the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) based at the city of London police. However, the main difference between the two sources arises from the fact that the most fraud offences and cyber crimes do not come to the attention of the police.
- As a result, police recorded crime data give a very partial picture of the extent of fraud while CSEW estimates provide a more complete picture of the threat. The data below shows the rate of crimes in England and Wales in the past 12 months.
The groups in society which are likely to be the victims of frauds and scams.
- The victims of fraud were more likely to be higher in the age group of 45 to 54 years at a percentage of 7.9% as compared to the people of 16-24 years who were at a percentage of 5.0%. The crime ratio in these type of crimes are different from other types of violent crimes where usually the younger crowd is targeted more.
- Unlike violence, fraud victims were higher in the households where the household income was of €50,000 than people whose household income was less €10,000.
- Individuals in managing positions and professional occupations were more likely to be a fraud victims i.e. 8.0% than individuals in normal or manual occupations i.e. 5.3%, full-time students had the percentage of 4.4% and those who have never worked or are in long term unemployment, they are 3.8%. This is in contrast to violence and burglary because here mainly the young adults and student households are at a greatest risk of being victims.
- The fraud ratio in some cases represents the place where the person resides. For example a person residing in rural areas is more likely to be a victim of fraud than a person living in urban areas. The reason for this most probably simulates a relation to the education level of those areas. People in urban areas can easily read the terms and conditions document before signing but the people from rural areas, due to lack of education, end up signing the document based on trust upon the fraudster.
Other than Frauds, scams are also very prominent in the city of England. Scammers hack the computer of the other person and use the information for their own benefit. Scams messages can take any form. Copycat websites are made where a victim may genuinely click on the link believing it to be true. Online shopping websites are also the source of scamming a person for example when a person orders something online like from Ebay, when he selects all the things and do the required things including online payment. It is possible that scam can occur there and being fake, stating that their order has been despatched. In this way a victim can be scammed.
Therefore in order to report for such activities, United Kingdom has a national reporting centre called ACTION FRAUD. Here all the complaints regarding frauds and cyber crimes are reported. It works together with the government to punish the fraudsters.
About Action Fraud
Action Fraud is UK’s national reporting centre for frauds where you can report if you have been the victim of any fraud, scams or cyber crime. There is another centre also called National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) which works alongside the Action Fraud and the London Police which is the national policing lead for fraud. They work closely with their partners in the government and the police to run the fraud reporting centre to the people of the country. Although I have already specified that what kind of frauds are there but to be more specific, I would like to define with what kinds of frauds does the Action Fraud deals with.
Identity fraud and Identity theft
Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and Identity fraud is when those details are used by the other person to commit fraud.
A-Z of fraud
To help understand which fraud you have been affected by, they have categorised it in alphabetical order.
Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.
Individual fraud could be any fraud which does a direct attack on the person.
It could be any fraud which is committed against a business.
Advance fee fraud
It is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and financial gains that do not materialise.
The procedure to report fraud and cyber crime
There is a business Reporting tool. The Business Reporting tool enables all the companies to report the frauds and internet crimes more efficiently.
If one wants to edit the report that he has sent to the Action Fraud, he can do the same by following the required steps:
- To update a fraud report, click on the link where you have submitted on the Action Fraud website. It is mentioned there. One can easily find.
- Then enter the security code and enter the police reference crime number(CRN) and passwords in the boxes provided.
- Then you will be able to add on more information that you wish to.
- One can report by directly speaking to their specialist fraud advisers by phoning on 03001232040. The people there would be able to provide help and give proper advice also.
- People who are chased by scam emails are required to immediately report to the Action Fraud.
If we notice, Action Fraud is just a body sitting under the NFIB. It has only a recommendatory powers. Action Fraud does not investigate the cases neither it can help in the progress of the case. All the reports are further sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
National Fraud Intelligence Bureau
As we know that the NFIB sits alongside the Action Fraud and the London police. All the reports from the Action Fraud are sent to the NFIB and then they deal with millions of crime reports including frauds and scams and aim to punish the serial offenders, organised crime gangs and established and emerging crime types. The NFIB uses the system called “know Fraud”. This is an extremely advanced police intelligence system with the ability to process vast amounts of data to pinpoints patterns and linkages in offending.
NFIB crime reviewers and analysts see opportunities for law enforcement or partner agencies to take action, where crime packages are disseminated Law enforcement and partner agencies then decide on the next most appropriate action and take responsibility for any resultant investigation. Not all fraud reports can result in an investigation so the NFIB seek to disrupt the fraud enablers that are causing harm by working with service providers to take down services abused by fraudsters. The NFIB will also alert members of the public and counter fraud agencies or emerging crime types, new methodologies and specific cases.
National Fraud Intelligence Bureau Process
Although there is a proper system to report about the crimes in the United Kingdom, but the main focus should be towards the people who are not as powerful as the rich people because they are also affected by the same. The laws should work in such a way that it should be able to seek to every person through its wide network. We all know that it is not an easy task to punish every criminal but it would also be unfair to punish someone who has done no wrong.