Action Fraud moves from the National Fraud Authority to the City of London Police
Fraud and cyber crime cost the UK economy an estimated £52 billion (AFI, 2013) every year, with part of this money being used by criminal networks to fund drug smuggling, terrorism and people trafficking.
Action Fraud has now joined with the force’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to provide a more closely coordinated end-to-end service for victims of fraud and cyber crime. This move will boost the national response to tackling serious and organised crime and identifying the criminals responsible, and to deliver the vital intelligence for individuals and industry to protect themselves from becoming victims.
The joining up of the entire end-to-end process will benefit victims of fraud and cyber crime in terms of improved transparency and feedback on reporting. For example, as part of planned joint working, for the first time since the service was introduced all victims who report to Action Fraud will receive an update on the status of their crime report, and be informed if it has been sent for investigation by a law enforcement agency.
City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard said:
“Having Action Fraud and the NFIB working together within the City of London Police will strengthen the processes that have been in operation since 2009 to collect, record and analyse reports of fraud and cyber crime.
“It will also pave the way for an even greater understanding of the nature and scale of the threat we face from fraud and cyber crime, and ensure we continue to improve the way law enforcement agencies tackle the serial fraudsters and organised crime groups that are causing most harm across the country.
“We recognise the achievements of the National Fraud Authority in raising the profile of the national threats from fraud and cyber crime, and are proud to take responsibility for the national service for reporting these serious crimes from here on in.
“This further integrates our role as the national policing lead for economic crime and enhances our capability for combating fraud and cyber crime nationwide.”
The Home Secretary announced the closure of the National Fraud Authority (NFA) on 2 December 2013, and that responsibility for Action Fraud would transfer from the NFA to the City of London Police in its role as the national policing lead for economic crime.
All of the other functions of the NFA have already been transferred to the National Crime Agency, the Home Office and the Cabinet Office.
During a visit to the new office location of the joined up Action Fraud and NFIB service, Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, Rt Hon Damian Green MP, said:
“Since the launch of Action Fraud, we have seen an increase in the number of victims reporting fraud and cyber crime by providing an easy-to-access single point of communication.
“Over the past year, the City of London Police has directed more cases to law enforcement agencies across England and Wales for investigation, part of a sustained effort to dismantle criminal operations.
“By giving the City of London Police responsibility for the whole service, I expect to see further improvements in our fight against fraud and cyber crime.”
Having this central collection point for fraud and cyber crime reporting and analysis enables a much clearer national picture on the main issues and threats from this type of criminality to emerge, and allows seemingly unrelated incidents from around the country to be linked through analysis, which assists in identifying networks of criminals to assist the investigations of law enforcement agencies.
Case Study: Ticket Fraud – Lee Maher
In May 2013 Action Fraud received an initial 24 reports of ticket fraud relating to various events for sale online, each one resulting in the victim not receiving tickets paid for via bank transfer. The NFIB assessed these crimes and disseminated them to Leicestershire Police for investigation and three bank accounts were identified as being used by the suspect Lee Maher.
Further enquiries were carried out on Maher’s bank accounts and he continued to commit offences whilst on bail and was further arrested in August 2013, with the CPS making the decision to charge him with 13 offences of fraud. In September 2013 Maher pleaded guilty and was imprisoned for 16 months for the 13 charges, and a further 97 reports of fraud were taken into consideration. ??