£31.2m of banking fraud prevented in 2019

A specialist police unit funded by the banking and finance industry prevented £31.2m of fraud and disrupted 23 Organised Criminal Groups (OCGs) in 2019, new UK Finance figures revealed.

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), which targets organised criminal gangs responsible for fraud, is made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, as well as banking industry fraud investigators and support staff from UK Finance.

Overall, the new figures showed 75 fraudsters were convicted last year following investigations by the DCPCU – with a total of 100 years in prison handed out to defendants in fraud cases investigated by the unit.

UK Finance also announced the DCPCU seized £1.65m of assets from criminal gangs, more than double the amount confiscated in the same period in 2018.

Detective chief inspector and head of the DCPCU, Gary Robinson, commented: “Fraud is a serious and growing crime, with gangs that are involved in drug trafficking and firearm offences now targeting the finances of hard-working members of the public across the UK. DCPCU officers and staff are on the frontline in the fight against fraud and these figures are testament to their hard work.

“Last year, we stepped up our engagement with social media firms to identify and take down over 1,600 profiles used by fraudsters and worked closely with mobile phone companies to combat scam techniques such as ‘sim swapping.’

“By working with a wide range of partners and government agencies, we are succeeding in disrupting the activities of OCGs and showing them that fraud is not a soft target.”

UK Finance managing director of economic crime, Katy Worobec, said: “The DCPCU is a powerful example of how the banking industry is working closely with law enforcement to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible for fraud.

“Criminals are increasingly abusing social media platforms and mobile phone networks to perpetrate fraud, and so it is encouraging that the DCPCU has been strengthening its partnerships with firms in these industries.

“We now need to build on the DCPCU’s success and ensure all sectors work together to protect the public from the threat of fraud.”

CEO and founder of payments solution Shieldpay, Peter Janes, added: “The industry is stepping up the fight against fraud and there are encouraging signs that we are moving in the right direction. But, in reality, £31.2m of fraud prevention barely scratches the surface of a massive issue which impacts people both financially and emotionally every day.

“New and sophisticated methods of obtaining financial details and money from unsuspecting victims are popping up all the time, so the approach to tackling fraud must undergo a fundamental shift. This shift must put technology at the heart of the fight and ultimately stop people unknowingly transferring money into the wrong hands.”

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