Official UK data on crime vastly underestimates the scale of the problem as 85% of fraud and cybercrime goes unreported, according to figures from the City of London Police.
They report that an estimated 1.2m crimes were not reported by individuals and businesses such as banks in 2013-14, worth more than £12bn. This would mean that the total number of crimes over the year was close to 5m, rather than the figure of 3.7m recorded by the government.
The report, published by the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, stated that 70% of frauds are carried out using the internet.
Criminals require only “limited technical knowledge” to operate lucrative cons, it warned, while some detectives are reluctant to work on fraud cases as they were not regarded as “exciting”.
Some large businesses deliberately fail to report online crimes for commercial reasons, particularly if they feel there is little chance that the perpetrators will be caught. “In these cases, businesses are effectively absorbing the cost of the crime as a running expense,” the report’s authors comment. “Ultimately, it is likely that these costs are passed on to customers.”
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