Seven million fraud and cyber crimes committed a year, research shows


More than seven million fraud and cyber crimes are being committed a year, the first official estimates of the offences have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics said preliminary research indicated there were 5.1 million incidents of fraud, with 3.8 million adult victims in England and Wales in the 12 months prior to being interviewed between May and August.

In addition, there were an estimated 2.5 million incidents of cyber crime falling under the Computer Misuse Act.

The data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales also revealed that overall crime has fallen by 8% from last year with an estimated 6.5 million offences.

It is the lowest level since the survey began in 1981.

Separate police recorded crime figures, which are compiled in a different way, showed an increased of 5% with 4.3 million incidents.

The estimates for fraud and cyber crime are significantly higher than those suggested by the police recorded figures, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

"There are a number of reasons why the CSEW estimate is so much higher than the figures recorded by the police," the survey stated.

"The profile of cases covered by the CSEW cover the full spectrum of harm or loss.

"Reporting rates are likely to be lower in cases where there is low or no harm, but merely inconvenience, to the victim."

The latest police figures show just under 600,000 fraud offences were reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), a rise of 9% compared with the previous year.

More than half of fraud and cyber crime victims suffered financial loss, the survey found.

Of that number, 78% received financial compensation and 62% were fully reimbursed.

The most common cyber crimes, offences committed under the Computer Misuse Act, were where the victim's device was infected by a virus.

It also includes people's emails or social media accounts being hacked.

The CSEW, published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics, reflects experience of crime and is separate from police-recorded crime figures which only show how many offences were reported.