As described in a CNet report, the United Kingdom is falling behind in the battle against Internet fraud. According to the Office of the Attorney General’s Fraud Review, eight percent of all fraud in the UK is carried out online, but victims are confused as to where the crime should be reported.
While the US and Canada have created a centralized way for consumers to report Internet fraud, the UK has taken no such action. Local police are unable to follow up on many of the cases when presented with them because the criminals may be based overseas. Crimes that involve low-value goods and occur within a different authority may not even be investigated by the police and trading standards authorities.
The Fraud Review states that fraudsters benefit from a lack of continuity of response. “It is clear that fraud suffers under the current crime-reporting arrangements and that this is unhelpful, both to police efforts to develop an intelligence led response to fraud, and to victims, who are frustrated when reporting a crime,” it reads.
UK police have been criticized as being unsympathetic towards businesses fooled by fraudsters, as well as individuals who “should have done more to protect themselves.”
Many of the proceeds from online fraud go to organized criminals, and the harm caused by such Internet crimes is second only to trafficking in hard drugs. The Fraud Review has proposed establishing a National Fraud Reporting Centre to ameliorate the current situation. The Centre would receive and analyze reports, identify patterns and trends, and provide police or other investigators with information to focus the investigation.
“While no such centre exists in the UK to tackle fraud, a national reporting centre has recently been launched to tackle pedophilia and protect children,” the Attorney General wrote. “This model shows that it is possible to establish such operations in the UK and it is feasible to do so.”