To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of online fraud during the covid-19 outbreak.
19 April 2021
The Government is aware fraudsters are exploiting the pandemic to commit opportunistic crimes such as fraud. We are regularly monitoring the number of cases being reported to the police and these – at present- remain very low.
Despite a difficult fiscal backdrop, as part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. This is in addition to funding the Home Office commits each year to the National Crime Agency, National Economic Crime Centre and police forces, including the City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud and the operator of the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau services.
Our efforts to tackle online scams have been ramping up, including working with the National Cyber Security Centre to establish a new Suspicious Email Reporting Service which was launched in April 2020. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively. As of 28 February 2021, the number of reports received stand at more than 5,000,000 with the removal of more than 36,000 scams and 71,000 URLs.
The best way to deal with these scams is for the public to be well-informed on how to protect themselves. We have launched a gov.uk page containing easy-to-follow steps for people to spot potential frauds and the steps they can take to avoid them. It also signposts advice and support to those who may unfortunately have fallen victim. This page can currently be found here:
We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime