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National fraud bureau to tackle £30bn con bill

Ian Grant

The new National Fraud Intelligence Bureau opens this month at the City of London Police to help police country-wide tackle an annual fraud bill estimated at more than £30bn.

It will have an initial 9,278 calls and 3,461 web contacts to populate its database. Of those, 1,875 calls and 1,583 web reports came in May, a spokesman told Computer Weekly.

The data comes from Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre that opened in the West Midlands in October last year, and which is being rolled out regionally.

The bureau will go some way to replacing the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which was largely incorporated into the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in 2006. Since then, victims have had to report frauds and online scams to local police, with mixed results.

Case information collected by Action Fraud will go to the NFIB, which will add it to information from other organisations including Soca, CIFAS, UK Payments, banks, credit card and insurance companies.

This data will be fed to a team of 50 officers and analysts at the City of London Police's economic crime directorate, led by DCS Steve Head. Staff seconded from NFIB partners, such as the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Services Authority, Solicitors Regulatory Authority and CIFAS, will help produce intelligence packages for local police forces to catch serial fraudsters operating in their patch.

The NFIB will also build a more accurate picture of the nature of fraud at home and abroad, and educate the public and private sectors to become more resistant to fraud.

Action Fraud will resume its regional roll-out in July after a pause during the general election. The website was launched on 31 January 2010 and the public has been able to go online to report fraud since 24 March.


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