Surrey emerges as Britain’s investment fraud capital

Maria Nikolova

Surrey saw the most incidents of financial investment fraud in 2014-2016, with 2.1 reports per 10,000 people, against an average of 1.3, according to data analysed by Which?.

Surrey has emerged as Britain’s investment fraud capital, according to figures for 2014-2016 from Action Fraud, obtained and analysed by Which?

Which? has turned the data into an interactive map, showing the type of fraud prevailing across England and Wales. Norfolk is the dating fraud capital, whereas Surrey is the hotspot for investment scams. Surrey registered the highest number of incidents of financial investment fraud, with 2.1 reports per 10,000 people, against an average of 1.3, the data shows.

The Action Fraud data points to 264,204 fraud cases reported in 2016, 10.7% higher than in 2015. However, not every fraud is reported to Action Fraud. A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests there may be as many as 5.4 million fraud and computer misuse cases annually.

The value of alleged fraud reaching UK Courts surpassed the £1 billion mark in 2016, according to the KPMG Fraud Barometer. The UK suffered approximately £1.14 billion in fraud losses in 2016, a rise of 55% from £732 million in 2015.

The KPMG study shows that London and the South East accounted for most of the fraud losses last year – more than £800 million, almost three quarters of all of the UK fraud. The Which? data shows London is a hotspot for a variety of scams, including regular payment fraud and being charged fees for fake loans, as well as social media hacking.

The City of London Police have recently voiced their concerns about the growth of binary options fraud. The tactics used by binary options fraudsters have evolved, with these scammers often misusing the names of famous people and businesses to attract clients. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, has warned that criminals are using his name and that of his companies to dupe people into buying fake investments.

Action Fraud has registered a sharp increase in reports of binary options fraud with the number of reports tripling in the last financial year. The financial losses rose from £2 million to £13 million during the period.

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