Fraud is increasingly a threat to “national security” as advances in artificial intelligence serve to boost the chances of scammers, the Lord Mayor has warned.
Nicholas Lyons, Lord mayor of the City of London, told the International Symposium on Economic Crime in Cambridge that addressing economic crime “must be seen as a foundation for a prosperous economy”.
At the 40th annual event, he told attendees that fraud, which accounts for a massive 41 per cent of crime in England and Wales, is increasingly seen as “a national security threat” thanks to “technological developments such as advances in AI presenting many more opportunities for deception”.
The government is set to hold an AI summit at Bletchley Park in early November where it hopes to lead the way on international standards and safety, and regulate the technology.
It comes as the Square Mile’s police force – which is the UK’s national fraud lead – are in the process of creating the new National Fraud Squad in partnership with with the National Economic Crime Centre.
More than 100 online scammers, who were targeting 20 people a minute, were recently taken down by the Met Police’s anti-fraud operation, as part of the regional fraud campaign.
Lyons said the City of London Corporation (CoLC) was working with City of London Police (CoLP), which runs Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
“Preventing crime has to be at the heart of modern policing and the response to fraud is no different,” he said, noting that a new court complex is set to be built in the City, with £350 in investment from the Corporation, with specialist economic and cyber-crime facilities.
Efforts to tackle the scourge of fraudulent transactions include the work of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), made up of CoLP and Met Police officers, who between them have saved £750m by preventing and disrupting fraud.
While the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), Lyons said, had recovered almost £3m for fraud victims, arrested 2,700 suspects and secured over 1,000 convictions.