The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW),is considered to be the best measure of crime trends in the UK. The survey measures crime by asking members of the public, such as yourself, about their experiences of crime over the last 12 months. In this way the survey records all types of crimes experienced by people, including those crimes that may not have been reported to the police.

For 2015, the offences of fraud and computer misuse have been included for the first time.

Offence Group

Estimated Number of Incidents

FRAUD

 

Bank and credit account fraud

2.47 million

Non-investment fraud

1.0 million

Advance fee fraud

108 thousand

Other fraud

138 thousand

 

 

COMPUTER MISUSE

 

Computer Virus

1.36 million

Unauthorised access to personal information

649 thousand

 

 

GRAND TOTAL

5.76 million

 

Note that “loss” means financial loss is incurred and “No Loss” means cases where the victim has been tricked or deceived in some way but they have not lost any money as a result of the deception.

Analysis of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows the following:-

·         The large majority of victims of fraud had been a victim only once, although repeat victimisation (within the same 12 month crime reference period) was more common among victims of bank and credit account fraud than other types of fraud

·         Almost two-thirds of fraud incidents involved initial loss of money or goods to the victim (62%). This equates to an estimated 2.3 million offences, compared with 1.4 million incidents of fraud involving no loss.

·         Victims received a full reimbursement in 43% of fraud incidents (1.6 million), typically from their financial provider.

·         Where money was taken or stolen from the victim, in just under two-thirds of incidents the victim lost less than £250 (64%)

·         Incidents of bank and credit account fraud were more likely to result in initial loss to the victim (70%, equivalent to 1.7 million) than other types of fraud. In the majority of these incidents, the victim received a full reimbursement (84%).

·         In 49% of non-investment frauds (such as fraud related to online shopping scams or fraudulent computer service calls) and 76% of all other frauds (for example, lottery scams, pyramid or Ponzi schemes or charity fraud) there was no loss to the victim. This compares to 30% of incidents of bank and credit account fraud where no loss was suffered.

·         For computer misuse, 22% of incidents involved loss of money or goods, all relating to computer viruses (442,000 incidents)3.

·         Among cyber crimes, bank and credit account frauds were more likely to involve the use of the internet in some way (56%) than non-investment frauds (40%) or advance fee frauds (4%).

 

The Difference Between CESW and Official Police Fraud Statistics

Analysis of the CSEW experimental statistics reveals that only around one-fifth of victims of fraud report the incident to either the police or Action Fraud.

There are many reasons for the differences and the levee of difference changes dramatically cross the different category of fraud.

For example, bank and credit industry fraud made up over 40% of total fraud and computer misuse incidents in the CSEW experimental data, compared with around 10% of total incidents from the latest Action Fraud data. In contrast, well over one-third (42%) of Action Fraud offences were accounted for by non-investment frauds (such as fraudulent sales, bogus callers, ticketing fraud and computer software service fraud), and in particular frauds involving online shopping and auctions. This compares with 18% of non-investment frauds identified by the CSEW. Another sizable fraud category highlighted by Action Fraud figures was advance fee payment fraud (such as lottery scams, data scams, and inheritance fraud), which accounted for around 15% of total Action Fraud offences (compared with just 2% of CSEW fraud and computer misuse incidents).

 

Although this is the first time that computer fraud has been included in the crime survey, there is reason to believe it is on the increase.