The police-backed North West Fraud Forum (NWFF) is calling on businesses across Merseyside to work together to combat the increasing risk of business fraud. New figures from Action Fraud found there were £183.4m losses reported to the organisation from almost 42,000 cases of fraud in the North West over the past year. Within the Merseyside region, there are reported losses for £35.2m and 6,725 cases of fraud.
The cost of living crisis and economic turmoil has increased the risks to both individuals and businesses. ONS statistics show that fraud reports increased by 25% for the year ending March 2022, compared with the year ending March 2020, and the Government believes that fraud will increase by another 25% in coming years.
With numbers of fraud offences rising, businesses need to commit time and budget to counter-fraud processes. The NWFF can help businesses by educating around the different types of fraud, through events, networking opportunities, as well as offering tools to reduce fraud risk.
Detective Inspector Shifa Chowdhury Jones, of the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the NWFF’s Honorary President, said: “Our statistics show that around 40% of all crime is fraud, so it’s really important that we bring businesses together to share knowledge and information in order to combat fraud.
“Fraud reaches more people than any other crime type and is also believed to be hugely underreported. We are also requesting that businesses report any types of fraud and attempted fraud to the police or to Action Fraud to ensure we have the relevant information and statistics.”
Claire Graham, partner at UK law firm TLT and chair of the NWFF, said: “The nature of fraud combined with the accelerated development of technology has meant that some businesses and authorities have found it challenging to ensure their anti-fraud processes are kept updated.
“We know that catching the criminals who commit these crimes can be difficult. This is why prevention and reporting to the police are key to tackling fraud. The NWFF can assist businesses by ensuring they are equipped with the know-how to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place and to educate around the importance of reporting if and when they happen.”
The NWFF provides a platform to raise awareness of the latest types and trends of fraud, promote collaboration, and the sharing of ideas, knowledge, tools, and best practice to better equip members in the North West region to fight fraud and cybercrime.
The forum, which brings together businesses with the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, was launched in August 2022.
Any business which has experienced fraud should report it directly to Action Fraud.
The forum is holding a counter-fraud event for public sector and businesses on May 18, with Jenny Radcliffe, the ‘People Hacker’ as the keynote speaker.