UK Cops Prevented £31m in Fraud in 2019

UK police prevented over £31m in mainly online fraudulent activity last year, according to UK Finance.

The banking body claimed that the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), staffed by officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police as well as industry fraud experts, had a bumper year.

As well as preventing an estimated £31.2m in fraud, it disrupted 23 organized crime groups (OCGs) and helped to take down 1600 social media accounts related to fraud activity. Around a third of these were used to recruit youngsters as money mules, while others were involved in the trading of stolen card details online and advertising for sale cut-price items bought fraudulently.

According to UK Finance, the DCPCU also seized £1.65m in assets from criminal gangs, over double the amount confiscated in the same period in 2018, while 75 fraudsters were convicted in 2019 following investigations by the unit.

These included a money mule gang sentenced to seven years behind bars for fraud and attempted fraud worth over £1.2m. Also placed behind bars were two scammers from London who used SMS phishing and SIM swapping techniques to make over half a million pounds. They received a combined sentence of 14 years.

UK Finance claimed that, thanks to the DCPCU’s efforts, £27m in fraud was disrupted and prevented in the latter case.

“People who have been defrauded frequently lose more than their money – they lose confidence and a sense of security. That is why preventing people from becoming victims of fraud is one of the most important things we do,” said City of London police national fraud coordinator, Karen Baxter.

“The DCPCU has shown how effective it is to disrupt criminals, intent on preying on the public. In doing so, they have safeguarded thousands of people’s money – as well as their peace of mind.”

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