One in 10 people victims of fraud or computer misuse


Nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes are committed every year, with one in 10 people now victims of the offences.

The figures emerged as the most authoritative official estimates on the scale of the offences were revealed.

Questions on the categories were added to the Crime Survey for England and Wales from October and the first findings indicate there were an estimated 3.8 million fraud and two million computer misuse offences experienced by victims in the year prior to interview.

The "experimental" numbers, published by the Office for National Statistics, were separate from the headline estimated figure of 6.3 million crimes perpetrated against adults in the year to March, which was a 6% fall on the previous 12 months.

Graphic showing the crime survey figures (PA)

John Flatley, of the ONS, said: "This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey.

"Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other crime survey offences.

"However, it would be wrong to conclude that actual crime levels have doubled, since the survey previously did not cover these offences."

A woman uses a magnifying glass to look at a tablet (Andy Wong/AP)
(Andy Wong/AP)

Statisticians said the survey indicates that fraud is now the most common crime likely to be experienced by the general population, with people 20 times more likely to be a victim of fraud than robbery, and 10 times more likely to suffer fraud than theft.

Of the two million computer misuse incidents, the majority involved a computer or internet-enabled device being infected with a virus, accounting for 1.4 million incidents.

The remaining 0.6 million crimes related to "unauthorised access to personal information" - such as hacking.

The most common types of fraud experienced were bank and credit account fraud, with 2.5 million incidents, followed by "non-investment" fraud - such as scams related to online shopping.