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Home Affairs Committee launches inquiry into fraud

14 September 2023

The Home Affairs Committee has announced a new inquiry into fraud.

Fraud is the most common crime in England and Wales, accounting for 40% of all offences. In 2022, 3.7 million incidents of fraud were reported to the police. It is feared many cases go unreported. The Covid-19 pandemic saw a significant increase in online fraud, with many perpetrators based outside the United Kingdom making identification and prosecution more difficult.

Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims. Beyond the consequences of financial losses, victims report lasting mental health trauma, even when money has been reimbursed.

In its new inquiry, the Committee will examine the impact of fraud on victims and how they are supported in the aftermath. It will ask how effective Government and law enforcement agencies are at identifying and combatting existing and emerging forms of fraud. The Committee will also look at how new technologies, such as the growth of artificial intelligence, could transform fraud and the role of technology and social media companies in tackling this form of crime.

Chair comment

Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Dame Diana Johnson said:

“Fraud has become ever present in our lives. We are all familiar with phishing scams and phone calls, but this form of crime is constantly evolving with evermore sophisticated ways of trapping victims.

“We will be asking, is fraud getting the focus it needs considering the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives? In 2022, it received only 2% of police resources despite amounting to 40% of all crime. People often don’t know who to turn to for support and are left feeling vulnerable and alone.

“We have launched this inquiry to understand the current landscape of fraud prevention and detection in England and Wales. We will look at how the criminal justice system has responded to the growth on online fraud, as well as tackling its more traditional forms. We also want to understand the consequences of fraud for those who have fallen victim to it, what happened to them and how they were helped to deal with its legacy.”

Call for evidence

Stakeholders are invited to submit written evidence, covering all or some of the points raised below. The Committee is particularly keen to hear views on the police’s response to fraud. The deadline for written evidence is Friday 20 October.   

The prevalence of fraud 

  • How offenders are committing fraud and the impact of this fraud on victims. 
  • How the emergence of new types of technology, such as artificial intelligence, is being used to commit fraud.  
  • The role of internet providers and social media providers in enabling or preventing fraud and actions they could take  
  • The cross-cutting nature of fraud, e.g how it may start as one type of fraud and progress into another 

Reporting, investigating and prosecuting fraud 

  • The effectiveness of the current system for reporting investigating and prosecuting fraud, including work with international partners in tackling fraud 
  • The response of the criminal justice system to rising fraud, including in sentences and other outcomes 
  • Given that it is estimated 70% of fraud either originates aboard or has an international element, what is being done to prevent fraud arising through those international channels?  
  • What other countries are achieving in terms of detection, prevention and prosecution of fraud.  
  • How better to collect and use data on the scale, cost and nature of fraud. 

Government’s response to fraud  

  • The Home Office’s progress to date on tackling fraud 
  • Whether its recently published Fraud Strategy does enough to combat fraud 
  • Whether the current machinery of Government is sufficient in tackling fraud  

Further information

Image credit: UK Parliament/Elspeth Keep