THE Police and Crime Commissioner and West Mercia Police are jointly retaining the focus on fraud, as a report from consumer group Which? showed the impact on victims can far exceed the financial impact.
Nationally fraud accounts for 39% of all crime, but only 2% of police resources are dedicated to it.
In West Mercia, 1629 fraud offences were reported over a three month period with an average financial loss of £5778.
Some of the most prolific scams include criminals purporting to be from the police or a bank and asking people to transfer money to an account, courier fraud where victims are encouraged to hand over bank cards or money to a courier, national insurance and parcel delivery scams.
The Commissioner has invested in services such as the Victim Advice Line to provide specialist support to those affected by scams.
Commissioner John Campion said: “We mustn’t underestimate the significant emotional impact of these types of crime.
“Scams can often be convincing and sophisticated, I’m pleased that West Mercia Police are also making this a priority.”
Detective Inspector Emma Wright, from West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “Fraud is often viewed as a “victimless” crime and there is a perception that “it’s only money”.
“This report recognises the significant impact of fraud and we are working hard in West Mercia to try and reduce this.”
West Mercia Police would give the following advice to help you protect yourself from fraud.
The police or your bank will never ask you to withdraw funds and hand them to a courier or to transfer funds to a “safe account”.
If you get a call like this it is a scam – hang up, wait at least 10 mins and check with your bank on a number you know to be genuine for your bank.
If you have started a relationship with someone online, be cautious if they ask you to send them money, particularly if you have never met them in person.
Report fraud to immediately Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.