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Online credit card fraud is to blame for the first rise in Britain’s crime figures in six years. A red-faced Downing Street last night admitted that overall crime figures for the country had risen two per cent for the 12 months to September 1999. But this masked a 29 per cent rise in fraud and forgery, including credit card offences on the Internet, today’s Guardian reported. Police recorded over 312,000 fraudulent offences committed in England and Wales. This compares with 70,000 for the previous year. While no exact figures were available for online fraud, Paul Wiles, head of Home Office research, admitted that Net crime was on the increase. This was the first official acknowledgement that online credit card fraud was an emerging threat -- not solely lodged in media "scare stories". Earlier this week, the Home office announced a £337,000 cash boost to help police the Internet – according to today’s figures, that’s almost one pound for every fraudulent offence committed.® Related story Hacker gang suspected over Virgin bust, others

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