New service to help police combat fraud

From boiler rooms to E-bay scams, fraud is big business, particularly online, with on line shopping and auction fraud the most common.

Now Lincolnshire Police is joining a scheme to revolutionise the way fraud and financially-motivated internet crime is handled.

Action Fraud - set up and run by the National Fraud Authority - is a one-stop reporting centre which will, by March 2013, handle reports of volume fraud from throughout the UK.

Detective Sergeant Ian Jarman, of the Force’s Economic Crime Unit, said joining Action Fraud will provide an enhanced service to victims of fraud.

“Where the victim is reporting a crime in action, or is assessed to be vulnerable, we will continue to deal with the report as normal,” said DS Jarman.

“But for all other such reports, the victim will make contact with Action Fraud, via the telephone or by logging on to its website.”

Instead of local officers taking reports themselves – at an estimated 15 minutes per report – victims will be asked to report the crime to Action Fraud.

Based on the experiences of the pilot forces, it is estimated the new reporting system will save Lincolnshire Officers in excess of 500 hours per year from taking reports from alleged victims.

“Clearly, such a system has the potential to save us hundreds of hours spent filling in reports,” added DS Jarman.

“It provides the public throughout the UK with just one point of reference, and will mean that our time is spent conducting actionable investigations and preventing scams, rip-offs and cons in the first place.”

Latest national figures suggest it is a £73 billion a year crime – and that’s only based on the crimes that are reported and recorded.

Action Fraud is a world’s first scheme aimed at reducing that cost, the burden on police officers filling in forms, and enhancing the quality of targeted investigation and preventative activity.

Information from businesses, members of the public and charities will be sent on by Action Fraud to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) - which also receives information about possible fraud from the police, banks and government - who will then send packages for investigation to the most appropriate authority – SOCA, the central e-crime unit, the Department of Work and Pensions or individual forces.

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