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Cifas calls on UK government to help tackle fraud

The UK fraud prevention service is calling on the government to use the Queen’s Speech to introduce policy and legislative changes to tackle cyber and other forms of fraud

UK fraud prevention service Cifas is calling on the government to make tackling cyber and other financial crime a priority in the Queen’s Speech on 18 May 2016.

The not-for-profit organisation wants government to introduce policy and legislative changes in three areas in light of the 16% increase in UK fraud cases from 2014 to 2015.

According to Cifas, fraud is a growth business and this high volume crime is affecting more people, businesses, charities and public sector bodies than ever before.

First, in the upcoming Data Sharing Bill, Cifas would like to see industry given clear guidance by the government, backed up by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), on the conditions for data sharing for the purpose of preventing financial crime and protecting victims.

Cifas would also like the introductions of a periodic central and local government data audit to review what data is held and what data can be released to third parties to enable savings across UK firms.

The results of these audits should be made public to drive transparency and accountability, said Cifas.

Public and private sector organisations should be able to turn to government and the ICO for timely public advice on data sharing, the organisation said, to help create innovation in the data sharing space, while promoting transparency.

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Second, in light of the government’s Modern Crime Prevention Strategy, Anti-Corruption Strategy and plans to legislate in the area of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, Cifas would like to see a more responsive funding formula for law enforcement that reflects the growing threat of cyber and financial crime.

Cifas has also called for an enhanced national training programme for all police officers on fraud and cyber crime; a review of what support jurors need when faced with complex fraud cases; a review of the sentencing guidelines for financial crime; and the creation of a register of corrupt officials that employers from all sectors can check employees against.

Third, in the light of moves to a more digital economy, Cifas would like to see UK citizens develop a better understanding of how they can prevent themselves falling victim to fraud and cyber crime.

This can be done by ensuring that all pupils are taught about the risks of fraud and cyber crime in schools; that current fraud and cyber education awareness campaigns have the resources needed to make an impact; and that the government provides small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in all regions advice on fraud and cyber crime.

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“Fraud is a serious and growing problem in the UK. This crime has devastating effects on individuals, businesses and public services in the UK,” said Simon Dukes, Cifas chief executive.

“Whilst we recognise we can never stop all frauds, we believe the government should be doing more to enable private and public sector collaboration to tackle this crime.

“We believe that, if the government adopted our proposed measures in forthcoming legislation, this would make a real difference in the fight against fraud,” he said.

Cifas aims to make the UK a safer place to do business by enabling organisations in every sector to prevent fraud and protect the public through the sharing of confirmed fraud data.

The organisation claims its more than 350 members across the public and private sectors prevented more than £1bn of avoidable fraud losses by using Cifas databases in 2015 alone. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently.

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