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Police signing up to tackle online fraud
INTERNET scams which target people in Worcestershire will now be reported to a new national fraud reporting centre.
In a bid to tackle the rise of online crime, West Mercia Police has signed up to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, which acts as a central point of contact for all information about fraud and financially-motivated internet crime.
Nationally, the National Fraud Authority estimates the loss to the UK economy from fraud is £73 billion. In the 2011/12 financial year, 2,715 fraud and forgery offences were recorded in the West Mercia policing area alone, a rise of seven per cent on the previous year. However, officers believe offences may be hugely under reported.
Detective Inspector Mark Glazzard, who leads the economic crime unit for West Mercia and Warwickshire, said: “We are seeing a growth in all sorts of fraud, from fairly basic, unsophisticated scams such as bogus websites to highly organised criminal gangs targeting vulnerable people.
“However, we believe we only see the tip of the iceberg and a lot of fraud goes unreported.”
Action Fraud will act as a central intelligence unit, pulling together all reports of fraud aimed at identifying and disrupting organised crime teams.
From today, instead of local officers taking crime reports of fraud themselves, they will redirect victims to Action Fraud, where staff will take details over the phone or online.
Where a crime has taken place, it will be recorded and the victim given a national crime reference number.
Every day, details of all recorded crimes will be transferred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by City of London Police.
Det Insp Glazzard said: “In serious fraud cases or where the victim is reporting a crime in action or is assessed to be vulnerable, we will continue to deal with reports as normal. But for all other such reports, the victim will be referred to Action Fraud.”
Action Fraud can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through the internet at actionfraud.police.uk. The hours of telephone operation are 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Internet reports can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.