Police recorded fraud in England and Wales has surged by 15 percent

Police told to get a grip as rocketing levels of fraud are being committed ‘on an industrial scale’ – as new figures show explosion of offences since the pandemic.


Police-recorded fraud in England and Wales has surged by 15%, with an estimated 3.5 million people falling prey to fraudsters in the past year. There has been a 549% increase in advance fee fraud, rising from 60,000 victims to 391,000 last year. However, the true scale of fraud is likely much larger.

Fraud Facts

Police-recorded fraud has increased by 15% from 1 million offences in March 2021-22 to 1.1 million a year later.

Advance fee fraud has seen a staggering 549% hike, with a six-fold rise in victims tricked into paying upfront for goods that never materialise since the pandemic.

  • The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that around 3.5 million frauds were committed in the year to March 2023, suggesting the actual scale of fraud may be much larger than recorded.
  • Less than 1% of law enforcement efforts are spent on economic crime, despite an expected 25% rise in fraud over the next five years.
  • Changes in shopping habits after the Covid pandemic, including increased reliance on online deliveries, may have fueled the boom in frauds.
  • Social media platforms are being criticised for not doing enough to remove scams, enabling fraud victims to be lured into traps.
  • Although advance fee fraud has risen, bank and credit account fraud experienced a 14% dip, while total fraud has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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