Millennials among worst affected in rising tide of Yorkshire online fraud

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Thousands of fraud offences have been reported in the region over the space of three years, new statistics reveal – with technology-keen millennials increasingly thought to be a target.

Results from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that 9,098 such cases were recorded by West Yorkshire Police between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2018.

Humberside Police recorded more than 3,000 cases in that time frame, with an average value of £7,237 per fraud. North Yorkshire Police said it could not respond to the FOI request, but there were 2,437 cases between October 2017 and March 2018, according to Action Fraud, with 47 per cent reported by individuals.

There were 4,076 such cases in South Yorkshire during that period, figures show, with 42 per cent of reports made by individuals.

Total victim losses in Yorkshire alone during those six months amounted to £37.9m, Action Fraud reports show.

Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud and Economic Crime Unit, said: “Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way that they ruthlessly target people and businesses for their hard-earned money.”

Nationwide data from 32 UK police forces compiled by online finance broker Solution Loans, which shared its figures with the The Yorkshire Post, points to millennials often bearing the brunt of such crimes.

Its analysis shows that 20 per cent of personal frauds committed in the three years were done so at the expense of those in the 18 to 29 age bracket, the firm said, compared to just nine per cent being against those in the 60 to 69 range. Collectively, those aged 18 to 39 were the victims in 35 per cent of fraud cases, it added.

It is thought the trend has occurred because younger people go online often. Amanda Gillam, marketing communications manager at Solution Loans, said: “Fraud against individuals is a huge problem and one that continues to persist throughout the UK today. When fraud is mentioned too many people think it only happens against big businesses and corporations. Unfortunately, from the figures we’ve secured through our Freedom of Information requests, we can see that simply isn’t the case.”

The figures came as Action Fraud yesterday began a campaign promoting safety when shopping for presents online. Its latest report shows that fraudsters conned 15,024 shoppers out of more than £11m over Christmas time last year.

Tony Neate, chief executive officer of awareness resource Get Safe Online, said that shoppers should familiarise themselves with online safety tips.

He said: “Really simple steps such a paying via a credit card over a bank transfer or only using reputable shopping sites can make a big difference towards protecting yourself online this Christmas.”