A major campaign to transform the fight against fraudsters launches today (12 February 2024).
Stop! Think Fraud is backed by leading counter fraud experts who are uniting under one voice to provide consistent, clear and robust anti-fraud advice to the public.
Fraud accounts for around 40% of all crime in England and Wales, with an estimated 3.2 million offences each year. The latest data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows it has reduced by 13% over the past year. The estimated cost of fraud to society is £6.8 billion in England and Wales.
Fraud has also more than doubled in Scotland over the past 9 years and reports spiked in Northern Ireland during the pandemic, with a decline now being observed.
The evidence led campaign draws on the expertise of leading counter-fraud experts and includes an online fraud hub which will provide concise, simple to follow advice. It will also signpost victims to relevant organisations for further advice and support.
Impactful adverts will also be prominently displayed in public settings, from billboards to radio, and from TV screens to social media. It is anticipated the campaign will be seen by 95% of adults in the UK over the coming weeks.
Stop! Think Fraud 40 second TV advert
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.
I encourage everyone to stop, take a moment to think about fraud, and share this messaging far and wide.
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said:
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.
Our Fraud Strategy is successfully turning the tide against fraudsters. This new campaign will share the details we all need to defend ourselves and our friends.
Stop! Think Fraud is a ground-breaking step forward against the most prolific crime type in the UK and delivers on the Fraud Strategy’s commitment to release a public awareness campaign.
It has been created to empower a mass audience, with a new website providing vital guidance on how to spot fraud, stay safe and what to do if targeted. The web address will be www.gov.uk/stopthinkfraud.
The campaign has far reaching support among the tech, financial and retail sectors, as well as law enforcement, victim care agencies and consumer groups. Supporting agencies have pledged to prominently display the Stop! Think Fraud advice and share it among their stakeholders.
They will also update pre-existing fraud advice they have shared in public places and replace it with the Stop! Think Fraud messaging and branding.
This one clear set of advice will remove confusion, which was a risk with so many different campaigns previously existing in the same space.
Temporary Commissioner Pete O’Doherty, from the City of London Police, said:
As the national lead force for fraud we wholeheartedly support Stop! Think Fraud and hope it will raise a much greater understanding of what fraud is and how to avoid it.
Fraud accounts for around 40% of all crime in the UK, so it’s vitally important to reach all corners of the country with this campaign to help protect everyone from the devastating financial and emotional impacts of fraud.
Alongside this campaign, we will continue to deliver on the National Fraud Strategy set by government and launch the replacement service for Action Fraud later this year.
Nick Sharp, Deputy Director for Fraud at the National Crime Agency, said:
Fraud is the most prevalent crime in the UK, impacting on millions of victims both financially and emotionally.
It is a priority for the National Crime Agency to reduce the harm that fraud causes – and the NCA has been working closely across a range of sectors to ensure that messages that help empower people to protect themselves are based on the collective knowledge of the law enforcement community.
The Stop! Think Fraud campaign is a major milestone that will build awareness of how to be better protected from becoming a victim, and how best to prevent and report fraud.
Felicity Oswald, Chief Operating Officer of the National Cyber Security Centre, said:
Prioritising basic security measures, such as enabling 2-step verification for your primary email account, is crucial to protect you against online fraud and increasingly sophisticated scams.
Following the advice from Stop! Think Fraud will help significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of fraudsters.
The launch of Stop! Think Fraud is a significant milestone in the Home Office’s delivery of the Fraud Strategy, published in May 2023.
Key strategy pledges already fulfilled include the agreement of the world’s first charter to prevent online fraud, the rollout of the National Fraud Squad and the appointment of a government anti-fraud champion, a post occupied by Simon Fell MP.
Another strategy commitment will be delivered next month, when the Home Secretary welcomes interior ministers from international partners to London for the first ever Global Fraud Summit.
Representatives from Interpol, the EU Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime will also be present, alongside some of the biggest companies and consumer groups in the world.
Wayne Stevens, National Fraud Lead at the charity Victim Support, said:
Fraud is a devastating crime. It’s essential that the public have access to reliable and up-to-date information about how to protect themselves – we’d urge everyone to take a look at this new guidance.
Sadly, there is still a lot of shame and stigma around fraud. For those who are targeted this stigma makes the experience even worse and often stops them seeking help.
We want everyone to understand that, if you are the victim of a fraud, it’s never your fault. We are available 24/7 to provide you with independent, free support.
Marc Allera, CEO, BT Group’s Consumer Division said:
As an industry, network operators have a responsibility to our customers to do all we can to help them spot and stop scams. So we’re fully behind the UK Government’s new National Campaign Against Fraud.
We’re constantly investing and deploying new technologies to prevent fraud taking place across the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure – and we know that partnerships across government, industry and law enforcement are critical to fully tackle the issue.
This campaign is a great example of that collaboration in action, and provides clear and simple guidance everyone can follow to help protect themselves from fraud.
Matt Hepburn, Fraud Spokesperson at TSB, said:
Fraudsters continue to bombard the public with fake texts, calls and scam content online – so it’s vital that we all remain alert to the threat.
The Home Office campaign is a powerful way of reminding millions of consumers to be wary of scams that reach us online, via social media, or through our phones.
The Home Office is working with the following stakeholders on the campaign:
- British Retail Consortium
- Citizens Advice
- City of London Police
- Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
- Financial Conduct Authority
- iD Mobile
- Match Group (the parent company of Tinder, Hinge, Match, Ourtime, Even, Plenty of Fish)
- Media Smart (a subsidiary company of the Advertising Association)
- Mobile UK
- National Crime Agency
- National Trading Standards
- National Cyber Security Centre
- The Pensions Regulator
- Royal Mail
- Stop Scams UK
- Telecommunications UK Forum
- UK Finance
- Victim Support
- Virgin Media 02