To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the (a) number of and (b) number of victims of online scams; and what steps her Department is taking to help protect (i) people and (ii) businesses from cyber crime.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
13 December 2021
As noted in the response to PQ:130746, the Government remains deeply concerned by the growth in scale and complexity of online scams, especially during COVID-19. That is why, we are actively working with industry, regulators, law enforcement and consumer groups to crack down on these crimes and to protect victims.
As of March 2020, 53% of fraud incidents estimated by the Crime Survey of England and Wales were thought to be cyber-related. The most recently available quarterly data for the year ending June 2021 of the number of reports of fraud made to Action Fraud that have been recorded as criminal offences by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have been published by the Office for National Statistics and can currently be found in Table A5 here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables.
Tackling cyber crime is a complex problem and, as we made clear in the Beating Crime Plan published earlier this year, we are working across government to deliver improvements to the UK’s cyber resilience and ensure we stay ahead of cyber criminals. We have invested £195 million over the last five years to establish a specialist cyber law enforcement network to disrupt and prosecute cyber criminals and support victims in response and recovery.
To protect people and businesses from cyber crime we have launched the Cyber Resilience Centres to assist small businesses; the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit (NECVCU) scheme to ensure that the right support is provided to victims by the right organisation, dependent on their individual need; and the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence programme to help tackle a significant proportion of the cyber attacks that hit the UK.
The Government will also publish a new National Cyber Security Strategy later this year.