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UK Government Launches New Fraud Taskforce

The UK government has teamed up with police, the banks and industry to launch a new taskforce focused on tackling fraud – much of which comes today from online channels.

The Home Office-led Joint Fraud Taskforce will be announced later today by the home secretary and features participation by the country’s leading banks alongside the National Crime Agency, fraud prevention service Cifas, Financial Fraud Action UK, City of London Police and the Bank of England.

It will try to spot intelligence gaps that currently exist; improve intelligence sharing between banks and law enforcers; work to identify victims more efficiently; raise awareness of fraud; and tackle systemic vulnerabilities in online systems and processes.

“Fraud shames our financial system. It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life. For too long, there has been too little understanding of the problem and too great a reluctance to take steps to tackle it,” May will say in a statement.

“I am delighted to officially launch the Joint Fraud Taskforce, which will bring the collective powers, systems and resources of banks, payment providers, police, wider law enforcement and regulators to bear on this threat.”

The taskforce will build on some good work already being done in the industry to tackle fraud, such as public-private partnership the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) – set up by the Home Office, Financial Fraud Action UK, City of London Police and the Met.

As far back as September 2014 the British Bankers' Association announced a new initiative whereby its members would receive crime/fraud alerts from government bodies and law enforcers.

The BBA also has a separate information sharing partnership with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

But fraud remains a major problem in the UK – there were an estimated 5.1 million incidents last year, according to the ONS.

Thanks to chip and PIN, improved awareness, and the success of e-commerce, much of it is shifting online to "card-not-present" scenarios.

In fact, e-commerce fraud has reached its highest point since records began, accounting for £217m in 2014, or nearly half (45%) of all card fraud, according to Financial Fraud Action UK’s Fraud the Facts 2015 report.

John Lord, managing director at identity data intelligence company GBG, welcomed the new taskforce initiative.

“As instances of fraud increase, so too does the butterfly effect of its occurrence – the implications that impact an individual or business long after the fraudulent activity has occurred or is discovered,” he added.

"Data transparency can be used incredibly effectively as a way of battling fraud. When data is shared freely between the public and private sectors, across geographical and political boundaries and amongst international bodies, a more accurate picture of global fraud patterns can be established.”

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