Fraud and Cyber Crime : Reviewing the Fraud & Crime Survey

Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released further results from its Crime Survey. It revealed that in England and Wales, there were over 6 million cases of fraud and cyber crime committed last year. In sheer volume, this represents one incident for every one in ten of the UK population.

This is the first year that fraud and cyber crime have both been recorded as part of the survey. The results make for very interesting reading.

The Crime Survey covers both crimes reported and also crimes experienced  so includes incidents that have not been reported to the police. In the specific case of cyber crime, it is generally accepted that businesses especially often do not report crimes to the police. Because of its broad scope and the its inclusion of incidents not reported to the police, the Crime Survey is considered by many to be a relatively effective measure of the level and type of crime experienced in England and Wales.

What is particularly striking about the Crime Survey figures is that for the first time, fraud and cyber crime have become the most prevalent crimes in England and Wales. Most significantly, they now make up more than 50% of all crime, according to the report. This underlines how rapidly cyber crime is developing.

Cyber crime was rarely reported on up until a few years ago, with the earliest cases being email phishing scams.   Whilst on the one hand police, who are regionally focused, are having to keep up with ever more complex and considered threats, they now have to deal with criminals working remotely and on a global scale. The perpetrators could well be on the other side of the globe. Bringing these criminals to justice is challenging to say the least. The area that we can all work on and to an extent, control, is working on the prevention of cyber crime.

Whilst this has been rising up both, the political and business agendas, it is difficult to know whether we are doing enough. We may need to wait until next year’s Crime Survey is released to know whether there is a positive trend and we have succeeded in making the UK a less attractive target for fraudsters and cyber criminals.

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