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There were approximately 5.6 million incidents of fraud and cybercrime in the UK last year, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.
Of that number, two million incidents related to computer misuse offences, highlighting how problematic this type of criminal activity has become.
According to the ONS’ latest annual Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), which included statistics for fraud and cybercrime for the first time, there was an annual rise of 3% in fraud offences in the year ending September 2016.
“In the past, burglary and theft of vehicles were the high volume crimes driving trends”, commented John Flatley, from the ONS.
“Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence”.
A 39% increase was reported in fraud on UK-issued bank and credit cards, the survey showed.
This comes after a spike in card fraud was identified in 2016, resulting in losses worth approximately $118 million.
The ONS stated that headline figures reported “an estimated 6.2 million incidents of crime” in the year ending in September 2016, notably showing no significant change from the year before.
Commenting on the data, chief constable Jeff Farrar, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said that “the vast majority of these (offenses) are not reported to the police, who have only seen a 3% increase in fraud offences”.
“The ability to commit crime online demonstrates the need for policing to adapt and transform to tackle these cyber challenges,” he went on to say.
“Working with the Home Office, Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and industry colleagues, chief constable Stephen Kavanagh is leading on the digital policing programme to develop new tactics and capabilities to catch these offenders and help protect people online.”
Last year, a report from Europol put the “relentless growth” in cybercrime down to “an increase in the number of cybercriminals and the highly profitable opportunities they are looking to exploit.”
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security