National campaign to fight fraud launched

A major campaign to transform the fight against fraudsters has been unveiled by the Home Office.

Feb 12, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Launched on Monday (February 12), Stop! Think Fraud is backed by leading counter-fraud experts to provide “consistent, clear and robust” anti-fraud advice to the public.

City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud, hopes it will generate a much greater understanding of what has become the most prevalent crime in the UK.

Fraud accounts for around 40 per cent of all crime in England and Wales, with an estimated 3.2 million offences each year.

While latest data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows it has reduced by 13 per cent over the past year, the estimated cost of fraud to society is £6.8 billion in England and Wales.

Fraud has also more than doubled in Scotland over the past nine years and reports spiked in Northern Ireland during the pandemic, with a decline now being observed.

The evidence-led campaign draws on the expertise of leading counter-fraud experts and includes an online fraud hub which will provide concise, simple to follow advice. It will also signpost victims to relevant organisations for further advice and support.

Adverts will also be prominently displayed in public settings, from billboards to radio, and from TV screens to social media. It is anticipated the campaign will be seen by 95 per cent of adults in the UK over the coming weeks.

The Home Office says this one clear set of advice will remove confusion, which was a risk with so many different campaigns previously existing in the same space.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “Our bold Fraud Strategy is continuing to deliver for the British people.

“This new campaign is a powerful tool to add to our arsenal, which already includes a world-first agreement from tech firms to prevent online fraud and the rollout of a National Fraud Squad that has 400 expert investigators.

“I encourage everyone to stop, take a moment to think about fraud, and share this messaging far and wide.”

City of London Police T/Commissioner Pete O’Doherty said: “As the national lead force for fraud we wholeheartedly support Stop! Think Fraud and hope it will raise a much greater understanding of what fraud is and how to avoid it.

“Fraud accounts for around 40 per cent of all crime in the UK, so it’s vitally important to reach all corners of the country with this campaign to help protect everyone from the devastating financial and emotional impacts of fraud.

“Alongside this campaign, we will continue to deliver on the National Fraud Strategy set by government and launch the replacement service for Action Fraud later this year.”

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said following the campaign’s advice will give people the best tips to stop fraudsters from “stealing their hard-earned cash, and point them towards all the help and information on offer”.

He added: “Our Fraud Strategy is successfully turning the tide against fraudsters. This new campaign will share the details we all need to defend ourselves and our friends.”

Nick Sharp, deputy director for fraud at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: “Fraud is the most prevalent crime in the UK, impacting on millions of victims both financially and emotionally.

“It is a priority for the NCA to reduce the harm that fraud causes – and the NCA has been working closely across a range of sectors to ensure that messages that help empower people to protect themselves are based on the collective knowledge of the law enforcement community.”

Felicity Oswald, chief operating officer of the National Cyber Security Centre, said following the advice from Stop! Think Fraud will significantly help reduce people’s risk of becoming a victim of fraudsters.

Next month, the Home Secretary will welcome interior ministers from international partners to London for the first ever Global Fraud Summit. Representatives from Interpol, the EU Commission and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime will also be present, alongside some of the biggest companies and consumer groups in the world.

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