Thursday 15 July 2021 8:18 am

Online fraud up by a third during the pandemic

Online fraud has risen by a third during the pandemic as almost all everyday activities went digital, according to a consumer rights group.

The number of cases of fraud reported to UK police unit Action Fraud cost consumers £2.3bn last year and had affected over 410,000 victims, according to analysis by consumer rights group Which?

Shopping, investments and delivery-related scams – particularly over phone and by text, had already been on the rise but at a slower rate than in 2020, according to the Financial Times.

The consumer group warned that last year’s acceleration indicated that “the scams industry has boomed during the Covid pandemic”.

The government identified online harms as one of the most serious threats to our way of life in a detailed policy document, published in April, setting out the UK’s national security and international. Since then new laws to tackle financial fraud have been proposed in a draft online safety bill, including threatening social media platforms with fines if they do not take steps to protect consumers.