A new investigation into cybercrime in the UK says there is a “tidal wave” of online fraud happening in Britain, with the vast majority of it going unreported.
The investigation by the i newspaper found that the rate of cybercrime in the UK rose by almost 90% in a single year.
This was revealed by a freedom of information request issued by the investigating team to police forces across the UK.
The data obtained by Johnston Press Investigations and the i from 30 police forces found that the number of cyber crimes soared 86% from 21,307 in 2015/16 to 39,339 in 2016/17.
Instances ranged from fraudsters preying on people using online dating sites to offences committed by primary school children.
But despite this massive spike, the data showed that police forces were spending just 1% of their budget on fighting cyber crime, and that the majority of reported online crimes were not being solved.
Dr. Tim Owen, director of the cyber crime research unit at University of Central Lancashire, told the i: “We see the internet as the fastest growing place for crime and deviance today.
“Even though there is a lot of work going on to tackle cyber crime, some cyber criminals are so skilful, you need running shoes to keep up with them.”
As the i newspaper said in its investigation, fraud is now estimated to cost the British economy as much as £193bn a year, a figure that is “significantly more than the £122bn annual cost of the NHS”.
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