To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to protect (a) the elderly, (b) mentally ill people and (c) other vulnerable people from scams coercing them to pay fake bills or hand over sensitive information; and what steps are being taken to arrest and prosecute people who perpetuate such scams.
The Government takes fraud extremely seriously. The Serious and Organised Crime Strategy published in 2013, places a strong focus on protecting those most at risk. The Home Office has been working with the City of London Police to help police forces to better understand who is vulnerable to fraud in their areas, and to work with local partners to help ensure vulnerable people are aware of the threat from fraud and are better able to protect themselves against it. This has included specific targeted activity with the vulnerable and the elderly.
The Care Act 2014 also places a new statutory requirement for all local areas to have a Safeguarding Adults Board, comprised of the police, the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group to protect the most vulnerable in their communities from all forms of harm, including financial harm.
An effective law enforcement response is also crucial. Action Fraud is the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime. Following recent improvements to the service by City of London Police, we expect that more reported crimes are now being disseminated to local police forces for investigation.
In addition, the Home Office is continuing to invest in the specialist capability provided by Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) to tackle Serious and Organised Crime, including fraud.