Data released by the Office of National Statistics shows that Fraud offences reported in England & Wales grew substantially in the year to December 2021 with overall fraud levels increasing by a further 21%, taking the overall figure to 984,860 recorded offences.
A significant rise seen was in fraud involving the banking and credit industry (up 28% year on year), driven by a 36% increase in fraud relating to cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts.
Other notable rises were seen in financial investment fraud (up 29% year on year), driven by a 37% increase in pyramid or ponzi schemes and a 30% increase in “other financial investment” related fraud which was driven by an increase in cryptocurrency and ‘Forex’ investments.
William Christopher, Civil Fraud Partner at law firm Kingsley Napley, said “Today’s stats confirm fraud is a growth industry which certainly reflects our experience. Anyone can find themselves a target including the most sophisticated financial professionals. The reason fraud is rising at such an alarming rate month on month is that fraudsters believe they can get away with it and there is a lack of confidence in the ability of the criminal regime to tackle fraud effectively, reinforcing this view.
Whilst the economics of civil legal action can often be a deterrent from pursuing fraudsters especially given they are often overseas, victims should take early legal advice to consider their position and the chances of redress. Powerful remedies such as freezing injunctions and search orders can be obtained in the civil courts and these orders are worth seeking where losses are more sizeable. Fraudsters thrive on the idea they are beyond the law but that need not always be the case.”