To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the number of scam phone calls being reported to Action Fraud in each month since March 2020; and what steps she is taking bring the perpetrators of those scams to justice.
27 April 2021
The Home Office collects information from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau on the number of recorded frauds. From the information held internally it is not possible to separately identify offences of fraud in which scam phone calls have been involved.
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 the 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.
The Home Office and DCMS are in regular discussion with the telecommunication industry on ways to tackle scam phone calls and protect the public. The Government has taken a range of actions to reduce the number of these calls. We have supported the National Trading Standards Scams Team to roll out call blocking devices to vulnerable people, helping to protect them from nuisance calls and scams. In addition, the City of London Police, the national lead force for Fraud, has partnered with Law Enforcement and Industry to combat call centre fraud from overseas jurisdictions.
However, the best way to tackle this problem is to try and identify the sources of these calls and stop them. We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and 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: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.
Using this information, City of London Police, the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency are able to facilitate numbers being used for scam calls/texts being blocked or removed.