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Fraud: Internet

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Robathan Lord Robathan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the level of online fraud in each year from 2015 to 2019; whether that level has increased; and if so, how any increase compares to the number of other reported crimes.

Photo of The Earl of Courtown The Earl of Courtown Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

Rt Hon. the Lord Robathan

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

25 October 2019

Dear Lord Robathan,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the level of online fraud in each year from 2015 to 2019; whether that level increased and if so, how any increase compares to the number of other reported crimes (HL361).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes figures on crime in England and Wales based on two main data sources: Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and police recorded crime. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a range of crimes, including fraud, in the 12 months prior to interview. Police recorded crime data for fraud offences incorporates information collated by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

The CSEW provides the best measure of fraud offences directly experienced by individuals in England and Wales. Online fraud are cases when the internet or any type of online activity was related to any aspect of the offence. Comparable data for this offence are only available from 2016 as victimisation questions on fraud are relatively new to the survey[1].

Table 1 sets out incidents of fraud and online fraud measured by CSEW from the year ending March 2017 to March 2019. There has been a 16% rise in online fraud (to 3.4 million offences) in the last year. However, the latest figure is at a similar level to that seen in the year ending March 2017. All CSEW crime excluding fraud and computer misuse showed no change over this period, despite some apparent fluctuation over the last two years.

The ONS also publishes quarterly data on individual crime types covering England and Wales with associated Appendix Tables[2]

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Incidents of fraud and online fraud, year ending March 2017 to March 2019 CSEW[3][4]

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over

April 2018 to March 2019 compared with:

Offence group[1]

Apr '16 to Mar '17

Apr '17 to Mar '18

Apr '18 to Mar '19

Apr '16 to Mar '17

Apr '17 to Mar '18

Number of incidents (thousands)

Percentage change and significance

Fraud

3,395

3,255

3,809

12

*

17 *

Online Fraud[2]

1,916

1,756

2,043

7

16

*

Unweighted base

17,171

25,725

34,163

[1] See Section 5 of the User Guide for more information about the crime types included in this table. [2] Online Fraud represents fraud cases that were flagged as cyber because the internet or any type of online activity was related to any aspect of the offence.

Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

[1] The victimisation questions on fraud and computer misuse were incorporated into the CSEW from October 2015. Up to September 2017 the questions were asked of half the survey sample. From October 2017 onwards the questions are being asked of a full survey sample.

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingjune2019

[3] New victimisation questions on fraud and computer misuse were incorporated into the CSEW from October 2015. Up to September 2017 the questions were asked of half the survey sample. From October 2017 onwards the questions are being asked of a full survey sample.

[4] In March 2018 the new CSEW estimates on fraud and computer misuse were assessed by the Office for Statistics Regulation against the Code of Practice for Statistics and were awarded National Statistics status.

[5] See Section 5 of the User Guide for more information about the crime types included in this table.

[6] Online Fraud represents fraud cases that were flagged as cyber because the internet or any type of online activity was related to any aspect of the offence.

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