Fraud levels soared in 2012 new figures have revealed with urban areas of Yorkshire, including Leeds, badly hit.
Over the last 12 months more frauds were recorded by one watchdog in the UK than in any previous year, with identity-related crimes, where criminals misuse the personal data of victims, accounting for nearly two thirds of all fraud confirmed in 2012.
In parts of Leeds and Sheffield there were up to three victims per 1,000 – making the areas a real hotspot for fraudsters.
While in Harrogate and Bradford, there were up to 1.5 victims per thousand. In London almost ten in every thousand were affected.
According to CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, there were 248,325 frauds recorded in 2012 – a 5 per cent increase from the previous year.
Last night the watchdog which collates fraud figures from its members which include banks, mail order and savings and investments companies, called for more organisations to get involved and combat the problem.
Richard Hurley, the organisation’s communications manager says there is a “need for more public and private organisations to act responsibly and share data to prevent fraud before having to recover losses.”
Identity frauds are where people’s personal details such as addresses, dates of birth, mother’s maiden name and other details are used to open bank accounts, take out credit cards or open a mobile account in somebody’s name. In some cases existing accounts can be hacked into to launder money or buy goods in somebody else’s name.
Organised criminals are often linked to the crimes but a report prepared for CIFAS says the con artist behind the scam is often known to the victim. People are urged to be careful who they give personal information to whether online or over the phone and to shred personal documents.