Feeds

Internet fraud slips through police fingers, says Attorney General

Report calls for coordinated clampdown

Application security programs and practises

Internet fraud accounts for eight per cent of all fraud in the UK, according to the Attorney General's office, which says that fraud costs the UK billions of pounds every year.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has published the final report of his fraud review and has found that internet fraud can sometimes slip through current policing procedures and cost users and businesses dearly.

"It is often confusing for victims to know who to report the fraud to, particularly if it crosses geographical or sectoral boundaries," said the report. "Fraudsters benefit from this lack of continuity of response. Internet fraud is a particularly good example of how a fraud can become difficult to report."

Goldsmith has proposed the formation of a National Fraud Strategic Authority and a lead police force to tackle fraud on a national scale. He also proposes setting up a National Fraud Reporting Centre.

"Fraud is not a victimless crime," said Goldsmith in his introduction to the report. "Work by the Home Office suggests that fraud may be second only to Class A drug trafficking as a source of harm from crime; and there is evidence that fraud funds terrorism, drugs and people trafficking."

Goldsmith found that several other countries, most notably the US, have adopted more co-ordinated approaches to detecting and preventing internet fraud.

The Internet Crime Complaints Centre (IC3W), a partnership between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Centre, is one organisation the report held up as an example of good practice.

"It is specifically designed to accept reports of people who have been defrauded over the internet, a problem which is particularly difficult to solve with geographical reporting arrangements. IC3W provides an analytical function and informs FBI work, and is linked to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance which tackles internet and high-tech crime.

"The internet has provided new opportunities for fraud to be committed and it is now a significant problem for both businesses and individuals," said David Woods, an associate and litigation expert with Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM. "The current system has made it difficult to co-ordinate efforts among the various law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle fraud, and it is a welcome development to see a renewed focus on seeking to deal with this problem."

Internet fraud is certainly affecting the UK. The 2002/2003 British Crime Survey analysed technology crime and found that three quarters of respondents were worried about using a credit card online. The Attorney General's report found that the costs of this kind of fraud were not always the obvious costs.

"Externalities are costs or benefits from activities which affect behaviour but are not fully reflected in prices," said the report. "The reluctance of some people to use the internet for financial transactions because of fear of fraud even though they would save money on the transaction by doing so is an example of an externality."

Goldsmith said the best way to stop fraud was for consumers and businesses to act sensibly. "The review is clear that much fraud could be avoided if consumers, businesses, and public sector bodies took elementary precautions and, in appropriate circumstances, exercised sensible scepticism about offers that were obviously too good to be true."

See: The report (378 pages, 3.4MB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.