These are UK’s fraud and scam hotspots

Dorset leads the rest of UK when it comes to computer virus, malware, and spyware scams, according to data collected by consumer firm Which?

Data collected by Which? also names Northamptonshire as the capital for online shopping and auction fraud reports.

According to data released by Action Fraud and collected by consumer firm Which? via a Freedom of information request, Surrey is where the most investment scams take place and Norfolk is the largest hub for dating fraud.

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The data also names Dyfed-Powys as the capital for computer-repair frauds. In this region, fraudsters call up people (mostly older ones) and tell them there are faults in their computers, and then charge them for fixing such faults. London and Surrey face the highest number of regular-payment fraud where fraudsters pose as company employees to persuade customers to re-route regular payments.

The data carries figures for 2014-2016 and states that 264,204 frauds were committed in the country in the said period. However, the Office for National Statistics believes that as many as 5.4m instances of fraud and computer misuse took place in the country last year, suggesting that the number of reported cases is minuscule compared to the real numbers.

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"As rates soar, we’re calling on the new government to prioritise fighting scams," said Which?

The list of fraudulent activities collected by Action Fraud includes computer fixing, online shopping fraud, online banking fraud, plastic cards fraud, hacking of social media, door-to-door scams, fake loan fraud, and regular payment fraud. Of these, computer fixing fraud and fees for fake services account for the highest number of fraud committed between 2014 and 2016.

“These findings from Which? highlight not only how rife incidents of fraud are across the country but also how many different types of fraud there actually are. From retail fraud to social media hacking, fraudsters will stop at nothing in their quest to obtain valuable personal information for malicious purposes," said Peter Carlisle, VP of EMEA at Thales e-Security.

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“Today, the challenge for businesses across industries is that they are ensuring that they are taking the necessary steps to protect customer data – extending their encryption policies to cover all personally identifiable information and account data to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

“For security professionals too, the key challenge is the lack of consumer knowledge around what data they should ensure they are focussing on protecting. People are particularly careful with debit and credit card numbers but will regularly give up Personally Identifiable Information like date of birth and street address, and will often use the same password on multiple sites," he added.