Commissioner Henry with Nottinghamshire Police's fraud and cyber protect team at the recent Emergency Services Day.
The fightback against fraud is set to intensify as partners join forces to tackle the growing problem in Nottinghamshire.
Victims in the county reported losing £1.8m in March 2023 alone, with consumer fraud being the most prevalent type of scam.
Fraud is now the most common offence nationally, amounting to 41% of all crime in the year ending September 2022.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry this week convened and chaired the inaugural Fraud Partnership forum meeting, pulling together agencies from across the county to start working more closely together on tackling the issue.
Partners joining forces include Nottinghamshire Police, East Midlands Special Operations Unit, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, Victim Care, the Department for Work and Pensions, Mencap, Age Concern and Nottinghamshire’s local authorities and two universities.
Commissioner Henry said: “Fraud impacts some of the most vulnerable people in the county and it is heart-breaking to hear some of the cruel stories, including how people have been conned out of their life savings.
“It is a growing problem that is affecting more people as the fraudsters become more sophisticated.
“We are determined to fight back and stop Nottinghamshire folk having their hard-earned cash taken out of their pockets.”
The action comes as Commissioner Henry is set to report to the Police and Crime Panel next month that levels of reported online fraud in the county have increased by 18% over the last year, continuing the long-term rise seen since March 2020.
Overall fraud offences reported to Nottinghamshire Police have risen by 6% over the last year alone to 4,276 a year – but it is known that this only represents the tip of the iceberg, with many offences going unreported or undetected.
An average of 543 offences are also reported to Action Fraud relating to Nottinghamshire each month. A proportion of these will be sent back to the home force for local investigation.
The Police and Crime Survey also showed that at least 19% of residents report being targeted for fraud each year with around 6% of Nottinghamshire residents experiencing some form of fraud involving loss. This has risen from 4.3% pre-pandemic.
Commissioner Henry added: “Fraud is a continually evolving threat that can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on its victims. Not only does it result in financial loss, it also causes mental and physical trauma. Many businesses don’t report fraud as they are concerned about sanctions or the potential reputational impact it could have.
“By working together in this new partnership, we hope to raise awareness, prevent repeat victimisation, share information on trends and collaborate on a far better collective response to fraud.”
Nottinghamshire Police has been raising awareness of fraud at recent engagement events including the Emergency Services Day at Wollaton Park on 20 May and other community events.
Officers have also been supporting victims to use the Truecaller mobile phone app – a caller ID and spam blocking software which enables vulnerable people to see who is calling them, even if the number has been withheld.
Seventeen victims of fraud were reimbursed over the past year after Nottinghamshire Police fraud and cyber protect officers helped them recover over £300,000 lost to scammers in the last year.
Detective Inspector Ashley Xavier, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Whether it’s a simple trick or a sophisticated high-tech online scam, fraud is a particularly callous offence.
“Not only do fraudsters inflict financial loss on their victims, they also cause an enormous amount of emotional hurt and pain.
“We therefore welcome agencies coming together to work more closely on this issue.”
If you are affected by fraud or cybercrime, you can call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, or dial 999 if it is an emergency.
You can also report to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm).
Businesses, charity or other organisations suffering a live cyber-attack can call 0300 123 2040 (available 24/7).
If you need further support, contact Nottinghamshire Victim Care on 0800 3047575.
Posted on Thursday 25th May 2023