The Government’s Stop! Think Fraud campaign, starting on Monday, includes a new website with fraud safety advice and adverts on billboards, broadcast and social media
The government has kicked off a new campaign called Stop! Think Fraud to help people safe from crime.
The campaign includes the launch of a website with tips about how to stay safe as well as advertising on radio, TV and billboards. Crime sigures show fraud makes up 40% of all crime in England and Wales, costing £6.8 billion, says the Home Office.
There were 3.3 million fraud crimes up to June 2023, 13% less than last year, the crime survey tells us. But Labour says fraud has shot up nearly eight times since the Conservatives came to power, from around 440,000 cases in 2012.
Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “Our bold fraud strategy is continuing to deliver for the British people. This new campaign is a powerful tool to add to our arsenal, which already includes a world-first agreement from tech firms to prevent online fraud and the rollout of a national fraud squad that has 400 expert investigators.”
And he urges: “I encourage everyone to stop, take a moment to think about fraud, and share this messaging far and wide.” Security minister Tom Tugendhat warned: “Fraud ruins lives. Following this advice will give people the best tips to stop fraudsters from stealing their hard-earned cash, and point them towards all the help and information on offer. We’ve all gone online. That’s why fraud has become so prevalent, but that’s also why we’re targeting this action.”
However, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry criticised the government, saying: “Under this Tory Government there has been an almost eightfold increase in the amount of fraud, from around 400,000 offences per year to 3.2 million, and the losses to the UK as a whole have grown from £38.4 billion per year to £219 billion. After 14 years spent sleepwalking through the escalation of the crisis, launching an ad campaign in response is the definition of too little, too late.”
She added: “And most importantly, the Government’s response also remains far too narrow. This new campaign ignores the £158 billion lost to fraud each year by UK businesses, and does not even mention the two biggest components of those losses, procurement and payroll fraud. Only Labour will deliver the comprehensive new plan we need to protect everyone targeted by this parasitic crime, from small firms to pensioners.”
Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at consumer group Which?, said: “The onus shouldn’t fall just on consumers to protect themselves. Government should urgently plug the gaps in fraud prevention, particularly in the telecoms, online advertising and domain sectors, making it harder for scammers to reach potential victims in the first place.”
“Tackling fraud must be made a national priority and a fraud minister should be appointed who can bring industries together to disrupt and block online criminals.” People can find information on how to spot fraud, stay safe and what to do if targeted, on the website gov.uk/stopthinkfraud.