Devon Audit Partnership Supports International Fraud Awareness Week 15th – 21st November 2020
There has never been a more important time to raise awareness of fraud and related offences. Fraud is by definition a crime and should not be tolerated. Fraudsters hide in the shadows of fear and misinformation, the more light you shine on them and the way they operate the harder it is for them to hide.
DAP is committed to the five pillars of the Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally (a strategy for the 2020’s)
Local authorities continue to face a significant fraud challenge and while the official figures are dated the argument about protecting funds and vulnerable people remains. The National Fraud Authority estimated local authorities face the threat of £2.1bn fraud in a year in 2013. In fact, the Annual Fraud Indicator produced by Crowe Clark Whitehill estimates that figure may be as high as £7.8bn in 2017, out of a total of £40.4bn for the public sector as a whole).. The Government’s Economic Crime Plan states that the numbers of fraud offences rose by 12% during 2018 to 3.6 million – constituting a third of all crimes in the UK. (Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally 2020’s)
Many frauds have developed a COVID 19 Camouflage, but it’s still the same old wine in new bottles. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If there is a time pressure or something that scares you into doing something then stop and think it might not be who you think it is. Always check your facts, genuine organisations do not mind you checking in fact they would encourage it.
We know from previous experience that reported fraud is the tip of the iceberg and that most goes undetected and or unreported as it is a hidden crime. Some headlines since lockdown from our counter fraud colleagues.
- Animal lovers looking for pets in lockdown defrauded of nearly £300,000 in two months – Tuesday, 5 May, 2020
- Cyber experts shine light on online scams as British public flag over 160,000 suspect emails – Thursday, 7 May, 2020
- 260 reports of coronavirus-related TV Licensing emails so far this month – Wednesday, 27 May, 2020
- A total of £11,316,266 has been reported lost by 2,866 victims of coronavirus-related scams.
- Action Fraud have received 13,820 reports of coronavirus-related phishing emails. 12 June, 2020
- Over £16 million lost to online shopping fraud during lockdown – Friday, 19 June, 2020
Her Majesties Revenues and Customs (HMRC)
- More than 10,000 COVID related phishing scams are being investigated by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Custom (HMRC)
- In May alone more than 5,000 scams were reported to HMRC by the public. A rise of 337% if compared to March figures, when lockdown began. During the month, HMRC asked internet service providers to remove 292 scam websites to help combat the issue.
- Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams.
- We are issuing an alert to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds and cyber-attacks. All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters.
Our partners across the region are also supporting IFAW, and Devon Audit Partnership would like to thank the Communications Team at North Devon District Council in particular for their hard work and support.