The latest stats from the Office for National Statistics suggest that many who said that the lockdowns, WFH, furlough, grants and bounceback loans would encourage fraud, were right. Not a conspiracy theory then. Here’s the word;
Fraud offences increased by 36% in England and Wales in the year ending September 2021 compared with the year ending September 2019.
Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) showed there were 5.1 million fraud offences in the year ending September 2021, a time when parts of England and Wales were subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. While the number of many offences decreased during periods of national lockdowns, fraud and computer misuse increased.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated:
- a 14% increase in total crime, driven by a 47% increase in fraud and computer misuse
- crime excluding fraud and computer misuse decreased by 14%, largely driven by an 18% decrease in theft offences.
“Advance fee fraud”, where victims are encouraged to transfer money to criminals in return for postal goods, “consumer retail fraud” and “other fraud”, contributed to this increase in fraud offences. This could be evidence of fraudsters taking advantage of a switch in behaviour, such as an increase in shopping online.
INSURERS AND BROKERS TAKE NOTE, EVERYONE IS BEING HACKED
The survey also revealed an 89% increase in computer misuse offences such as hacking compared with the year ending September 2019. This was largely driven by a 161% increase in “unauthorised access to personal information” including hacking. This also included the large-scale data breaches and the compromise of email or social media accounts.
That huge increase is a great stat to use when selling cyber insurance on a pay monthly basis to small businesses and to people who work from home sometimes on the hybrid model. That sensitive company data, those tools, documents or personal records etc all need physical and online security – and that means, cyber insurance. Many people think that their home insurance will cover a data hack or ransomware demand – they need a bit of gentle education on that front.
There were an estimated 1.9 million computer misuse offences in the year ending September 2021.