Restraint orders allow the SFO to freeze and confiscate assets it believes to be associated with money laundering or other forms of fraudulent activity.
Restraint orders allow the SFO to freeze and confiscate assets it believes to be associated with money laundering or other forms of fraudulent activity.

Rising Fraud Costs Britain $249 Billion Per Year

With advanced technology, online banking fraud has grown 226% this year while telephone banking fraud is up 178%

Rising Fraud Costs Britain $249 Billion Per Year

Fraud has become the most common criminal offence in the UK, as the country foots a £190 billion ($249 billion) bill for the crime every year. This includes a cost to the economy of £140 billion resulting from fraud in the private sector, according to a study by Crowe Clark Whitehill, Experian and the Center for Counter Fraud Studies.
The public sector loses £40.3 billion, while even charities are losing as much as £2.3 billion a year. The rise of outsourcing is thought to be a major factor in the rise of fraudulent activity, leaving stages of the procurement process open to potential scams, news outlets reported.
Advanced technology also means that fraudsters are finding new and more effective ways to cheat people out of money. Online banking fraud has grown 226% this year while telephone banking fraud is up 178%.
"Plastic card and online banking fraud continues to increase, so new regulations which make it harder for fraudsters to use someone’s cards online are a necessary step," said Nick Mothershaw, director of fraud and identity solutions at Experian.
"Fraudsters are shamelessly opportunistic and are now turning their attention to the pensions release, lured by the promise of high value returns when their scams are successful."
Jim Gee, head of forensics and counter fraud at Crow Clark Whitehill added that the problem was not being treated seriously enough. "Private companies are made less stable and financially healthy; as citizens, we don’t get the quality of public services that we pay our taxes to receive; and even charities don’t get to spend the full value of the donations which people make. What other problem of this size doesn’t have a proper national response?”

Online Incidents
Separate data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which attempts to work out how many crimes have occurred in total rather than just those reported to the police, showed a much higher number.
The CSEW estimated that around 3.3 million fraud offences took place in the year to June, and said that over half (57%) of these were online.
Of the roughly 1.6 million adults who experienced a computer misuse crime, about two thirds (67%) were related to a computer virus. The rest involved personal data breaches, including hacking.
The most common form of fraud reported in the survey was bank and credit card fraud, with more than 2.5 million incidents in the period.

Student Loan Scandal
An investigation has been launched into alleged fraud involving degrees at Plymouth University, as BBC Panorama prepares to lift the lid on a "scandal" in higher education. A special documentary titled Student Loan Scandal, to be aired on BBC One on Monday night, promises to expose how fraud is costing the taxpayer millions.
The BBC claims it has undercover footage that reveals how "shady education agents" are recruiting bogus students to private colleges to claim loans they should not have access to.
Agents supply fraudulent qualifications, offer to sell coursework and are able to "fake attendance", the broadcaster says.

Orders to Freeze and Seize Assets
The Serious Fraud Office froze assets suspected of being involved in fraud eight times in the last financial year, according to law firm Pinsent Masons, Cityam reported.
“Restraint orders” allow the SFO to freeze and confiscate assets it believes to be associated with money laundering or other forms of fraudulent activity.
The use of the powers has doubled in the past year as the SFO tries to be more proactive in stopping criminals from liquidating assets, Pinsent Masons said.
SFO has also increased its usage of funds obtained from criminals in compensating victims, the law firm said.
The SFO has faced pressure in recent years to increase its assertiveness, with Prime Minister Theresa May campaigning during June’s general election on a platform to abolish the agency. However, those plans have since been dropped.
Reported fraud offences rose 4% over the last year to 641,539, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, over the same period, fraud prosecutions fell 12%.
The agency has increased its focus on larger cases recently, but that decision is impacting the pursuit of lower-level criminals, according to Alan Sheeley, partner at Pinsent Masons.


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