Fraud Now The Most Popular Crime in England and Wales

The addition of fraud questions to the ONS official Crime Survey for England and Wales has yielded some shocking information about the rocketing levels of cyber crime. The results of the latest survey show that there were nearly 6 million fraud crimes last year, 2 million of them being computer misuse offences.

Robbed At Your Computer

These latest Crime Survey figures show that cyber crime has reached the point where you are now 20 times more likely to be robbed by a person overseas while you’re sitting at your computer than being robbed in the street!

Fraud The Most Common Crime

According to the survey fraud (including online fraud) is now the most common crime in the country with 1 in 10 adults defrauded in the past year.

Types of Crime

In terms of cyber crime and online fraud 650,000 people reported that their email or social media profile had been hacked, and 1.4 million reported falling victim to computer virus attacks.

Of the 2.5 million reported incidents involving bank and credit card fraud, 1 million could be described as shopping scams and nearly 110,000 involved romance-related scams.

Drivers and Facilitators

Some of the key drivers of the increase in fraud and particularly online fraud are likely to be the now widespread use of computers, smart phones, laptops and tablets. Cyber criminals globally can also now launch attacks for lower costs with less chance of detection.


Victims of fraud generally tend to be those who live in rural areas, middle aged adults, and those in professional / managerial jobs. One good reason for this may be that they are better targets for criminals as they are likely to have more money and may be less technically savvy and less knowledgeable in terms of fraud / online fraud awareness.

What To Do

For businesses and individuals who fall victim to cyber crime such as online fraud it’s a case of reporting the incident to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for cyber crime and fraud. Details of the incident are then passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFBI) which then decides whether to pass it on to the police.

Taking action to prevent attacks in the first place is of course worthwhile. Businesses need to raise awareness among staff that they all need to be very careful about opening emails with attachments and / or emails from sources that they are not familiar with.

Keeping computer updates, patches, and anti virus software up to date is also very important.

Having a reliable, secure back up of your important files and folders is also advisable if not essential in today’s business environment.

Conducting regular health checks, risk assessments or audits, making sure that formal written cyber security policies are in place and that Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans are in place are also important ways that your organisation can sat well prepared.

Seeking expert, external professional help and Cyber Security Consultancy Services could also be a good way to quickly get up to speed with identifying and managing the cyber security threats facing your business.

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