Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers is today launching a campaign educating the public about the key scam threats in the UK through an interactive microsite.
Crime figures show a near 60 per cent rise in reported fraud over the past five years boosted by a rise in identity theft and online scams costing the UK economy £63m per year. To help tackle these crimes the charity has created a Game of Fraud hub featuring an online survey with information on a variety of frauds, including romance fraud, courier fraud and online shopping fraud, that affect the UK public every day. Through a series of short, simple questions the intuitive quiz identifies which fraud types members of the public may be most vulnerable to and gives a detailed description of how they may be targeted.
The variety of fraudulent activity being carried out by criminals is vast. Advance fee fraud is where fraudsters target victims to request upfront fees for the release of funds, ask for help to transfer money out of another country or offer fake loans. It is estimated this affects over 26,000 UK residents every year with sometimes devastating financial consequences.
Romance fraud is also on the rise with nearly 3,000 older men and women falling victim each year. Unsuspecting adults are tricked into thinking they have met their ‘perfect partner’ online, but in truth they are being deceived. Once the fraudster gains their trust, they ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons in hope that financial support will be offered. Recently intimate photographs of victims have been used to extort funds from trusting members of the public.
To help promote the campaign, a series of launches will be carried out across the UK, kick-starting in London in the prestigious Covent Garden Piazza where members of the public will be encouraged to stay safe through educational tools delivered in a light-hearted and entertaining display.
Actors will be personifying some of the key fraud types included as part of the awareness campaign. Information will be distributed to members of the public in a playing cards format so they can learn about the various fraud types.
Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said:“New and emerging fraud-types are becoming increasingly complex and are frequently being funnelled through online activity. We are working hard to make sure the public is informed and empowered to avoid becoming victims to these scams.
“These scams affect individuals from all walks of life, anyone can become a victim; for these reasons we are educating the public around this to stop the criminals behind this deviant activity profiting from innocent members of the community.”
Roger Critchell, Crimestoppers Director of Operations, said: “Does something seem too good to be true? Do you actually know who you are providing your account details to over the phone or internet? We are hoping that following this campaign the public will change their behaviour in light of the information received and share these insights with friends and family to help them avoid becoming victims.
“As always we encourage the public to pass on information to us completely anonymously about anyone they suspect of committing fraud. This can be done anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via our website www.crimestoppers-uk.org”
The Game of Fraud hub can be found at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/gameoffraud
Please use the hashtag #gameoffraud on Twitter.