Ever fell in love with a Nigerian prince who promised you the world only to discover it was all a sham and you’re now spending 20 years in the Bangkok Hilton over drugs smuggling charges? Well, you may not be the only one with the latest statistics from the UK showing that online fraud is the most common crime in the country, with almost one in ten people becoming a victim to fraudsters.
More than five and a half million cyber offences are believed to take place each year across England and Wales, accounting for almost half of all crime in the UK.
There were 11.8 million crimes committed in England and Wales in the 12 months to the end of September, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The tally is almost twice the previous official estimate of around 6 million crimes a year because of the addition of new forms of harassment to the tally and a greater focus in tackling domestic abuse, rather than a genuine rise in violence, as well as the inclusion for the first time of annual figures for fraud and computer misuse offences.
These accounted for 5.6 million crimes last year, of which 3.6 million were fraud.
John Flatley, the Office for National Statistics’ head of crime analysis, said digital technology was playing a major part in the changing nature of crime.
He added: “In the past burglary and theft of vehicles were the high volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then.
“When the Crime Survey for England and Wales started, fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.
“Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence.”