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10% rise in fraud cases in the UK

Norfolk is the dating fraud capital of England and Wales, while Surrey is the hotspot for investment scams, according to new Which? analysis.

By Stephanie Otty | Published: 16th June 2017 Business

The data reveals Dorset as the capital of computer virus, malware and spyware scams, while Northamptonshire is the capital for online shopping and auction fraud reports.

Elsewhere, Dyfed-Powys was the capital for computer-repair fraud reports; in these scams, a fraudster phones you pretending there’s a fault with your computer and then demands a fee for fixing it. Research suggests that this fraud – which has risen 47% in two years – tends to target areas with an older population.

Meanwhile, regular-payment fraud – where a fraudster persuades you to re-route a regular payment by posing as, say, your energy company – is reported more in areas with higher house prices, such as London and Surrey.

Figures for 2014-2016 from Action Fraud, the main reporting body for UK fraud show:

264,204 frauds were reported in 2016 – up 10.7% on 2015. But not every fraud is reported to Action Fraud; a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests there may be as many as 5.4m fraud and computer misuse cases a year.

As rates soar, Which are calling on the new government to prioritise fighting scams.