RBS to help police with cyber and other expertise to fight financial crime

RBS is to provide the City of London Police with free cyber, financial, legal and language advice to help fight financial crime

The Royal Bank of Scotland is to provide the City of London Police with free training and advice to help fight financial crime.

The bank will share financial, legal, language and cyber knowledge under an agreement to be announced this week, reports the Financial Times.

Microsoft announced a similar agreement in September 2014 to share cyber threat intelligence with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) to help fight cyber crime.

In March 2014, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed cyber crime is the second most common type of economic crime reported by financial services respondents after asset misappropriation.

Last week, RBS announced it had set aside £400m to cover potential fines for manipulating currency markets and warned that further charges for past misconduct would continue to hit its profits.

But City of London Police told the FT that any investigation into the bank will be kept separate from the new working relationship with RBS and that bank employees will not be involved in police operations.

RBS will also not be asked for advice relating to specific police investigations, which range from insurance and card payment fraud to bribery, corruption and rogue financial traders.

The co-operation agreement forms part of a police drive to crack down on financial crime in the UK, which is expected to cost the economy more than £73bn in 2014.

The top ten internet-enabled frauds in the past year cost the UK £670m, according to statistics released in October 2014 by public-private internet safety initiative Get Safe Online.

Financial crime is increasingly cyber-enabled, with criminals targeting bank and other financial computer systems to steal personal data to be used to commit fraud.

The personal financial data of millions of US citizens have been stolen in recent months in a series of high-profile data breaches at banking institutions.

In August 2014, the FBI said it was investigating a series of cyber attacks at JP Morgan Chase and at least four other financial institutions.

The City of London Police has the UK’s biggest anti-fraud team and incorporates Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

Reporting fraud

Since launching in October 2009, Action Fraud has established itself as the place where victims of fraud can make an official crime report and find the professional support they need.

According to the City of London Police, fraud, cyber-enabled fraud and cyber-dependent fraud reporting increased significantly from 2012 to 2013 when police forces started directing all victims to Action Fraud’s national contact centre and online reporting portal.

In 2013 and 2014, more than 210,000 victims of fraud – individuals and small to medium sized businesses – reported in this way, marking a 17% increase on the previous year.

There is a lot of work for us still to do in raising our profile across all demographics of people living in the UK

Pauline Smith, Action Fraud

All of the reports to Action Fraud are passed directly to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), based within the City of London Police.

The NFIB uses the reports as the basis of crime reports to local forces, of public and private sector fraud alerts and of recommendations for disruption of criminal activities.

Since moving to the City of London Police in April 2014, the Action Fraud team has focused on victim support.

The service now sends letters to everyone who makes a report, providing an update on how the information they have provided is being used by the NFIB.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said the service has come a long way since it was established, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We recognise there is a lot of work for us still to do in raising our profile across all demographics of people living in the UK and explaining how important it is for them to contact us if they have fallen victim to a fraud, cyber-enabled fraud or a cyber-dependent fraud,” she said.

Get Safe Online said the true economic cost is unknown because a significant number of internet-enabled fraud cases still go unreported.

A Get Safe Online survey revealed that only 32% of victims reported the crime, while 47% of victims said they did not know how to report an online crime.

Get Safe Online said it expected this figure to drop with the ongoing work of Action Fraud and the increased government resources dedicated to fighting cyber crime.

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