Where are the UK fraud hotspots? New research reveals the places you are most likely to get scammed

20 June 2019

New research has found that London is the fraud capital of the UK, while Sussex is a hotspot for dating scams.

Consumer group Which? obtained data from Action Fraud, the main reporting body for scams in the UK, and also looked at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) crime survey data.

The crime survey shows that there were 3.6 million cases of fraud in England and Wales in 2018, an increase of 12.6% on the previous year.

People in London are most likely to be a victim of a scam, with 104 cases reported per 10,000 people.

By contrast, those living in Northern Ireland were least likely to be affected by fraud with only 38 cases per 10,000 people.

Total fraud by region

RegionAction Fraud reports between 2017/18Action Fraud reports per 10,000 people between 2017/18
East of England59,88297
South East87,05896
East Midlands40,90086
South West47,27985
North West62,05584
West Midlands48,05282
Yorkshire and the Humber39,18172
North East1664963
Northern Ireland7,15738

Source: Which? 2019

Online shopping and auctions fraud is the biggest reported type of fraud with 86,127 cases, followed by advance fee fraud (78,686), computer fixing fraud (38,891), and cheque, plastic card and online bank fraud (35,502).

London was identified as the capital of online shopping and auction fraud – with 17 reports per 10,000 people, compared to a national average of 13.

It has also the highest reported rate for ticket fraud with 4.5 cases per 10,000 people against an average of 2.2 and investment scams of 1.9 per 10,000 people against an average of 1.3.

The figures show that dating scams, which typically see people duped into transferring money linked to a fake romance, is most reported in Sussex.

Sussex has a rate of 1.9 reports per 10,000 people compared to the national average of 1.1.

Warwickshire has the highest reported rate for advance fee fraud, in which victims are asked to pay for goods or services that are never delivered, while people in Norfolk were most likely to report computer fixing fraud.

UK fraud capitals

Fraud typePolice forceNumber of Action Fraud reports from 2017-2019
Advance fee fraudWarwickshire892
Bogus tradespeopleSurrey380
Cheque, plastic card and online bank fraudEssex2,225
Computer fixing fraudNorfolk924
Computer virus attacksSurrey298
Dating scamSussex321
Fake loan fraudNorthamptonshire132
Hacking - social media and emailHertfordshire419
Investment fraudLondon1,718
Mandate fraudSurrey387
Online shopping and auctionsLondon14,948
Retail consumer fraudEssex2,310

Source: Which? 2019

Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, says: “Fraud is spiralling out of control, so any measures that can help combat this worsening crime – such as the introduction of vital name check security for bank transfers – should be quickly introduced.

“The government must set out an ambitious agenda – with real accountability – to finally tackle the growing threat from scams, which are having a devastating impact on the lives of victims.”

The survey revealed that the average age for victims filing a report with Action Fraud over the last two years was 49.

Victims of rental fraud – where prospective tenants are typically tricked into paying a deposit – were on average 33.

For ticket fraud and online shopping, the average age was 37.

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