Fraudsters have stolen nearly £ 27million from people living in Hertfordshire during the coronavirus pandemic – most of the victims have been stolen from online shopping scams.
Criminals have profited from increased internet shopping as well as health and wellness concerns during the crisis, says Action Fraud, the UK’s authority on fraud and cybercrime.
In Hertfordshire, 9,462 incidents of fraud and cybercrime were reported between the beginning of February last year and the end of March this year, according to data from Action Fraud.
The crimes were worth £ 26.7million, the equivalent of around £ 6,297 per day.
In Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, 448,700 fraud and cybercrime reports were made to Action Fraud during the 14-month period. Victims’ losses totaled £ 1.9 billion.
And Hertfordshire’s figure could be higher with some 23,600 reported breaches – worth £ 469.4million – not recorded in a specific police area.
The numbers also show that online shopping scams were the most common type of fraud and cybercrime, along with prepayment and computer software fraud.
A spokesperson for Action Fraud said: “During this incredibly difficult year, unfortunately we have seen sneaky criminals take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to commit fraud.
“To carry out their scams, the criminals looked at people’s anxieties and the changes that have taken place in our daily lives, such as the fact that we have all done more online shopping.”
Consumer group Which one? According to the numbers, online shopping scams were now taking place on an “industrial scale” – accusing tech giants of not doing enough to protect users.
Adam French, consumer rights expert, said: “The coronavirus crisis has meant more people are shopping online than ever before, as opportunistic scammers have developed increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal money. people’s money.
“Search engines and social media sites have some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world, but they don’t use them to protect their users from scammers who abuse platforms through bogus and fraudulent content.
In response, Google, which runs the world’s most widely used search engine, said it has “strict policies” on the ads served on its platform with 3.1 billion ads, including 123 million for financial services, blocked and deleted last year.
It also claims to block 100 million emails to users every day.
However, the company said it is seeing a growing number of fraudsters promoting bogus businesses or launching scams over the phone to lure users away from its platforms and avoid detection.
Figures from Action Fraud also show the age of victims of fraud and cybercrime offenses reported during the 14-month period from February of last year.
In Hertfordshire, those most frequently targeted were those aged 40 to 49, with around 1,700 reported victims, or 18% of all those who gave an age.
There have been around 2,500 reports of victims aged 60 and over – 26% – of which 74 are between 90 and 99 years old.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-23 07:00:00