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Technology / Cybersecurity

Crackdown on UK fraud as Home Secretary Theresa May launches taskforce & Most wanted fraudster list

The UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, is bringing together police, banks and government officials to launch a new taskforce to tackle fraud in the UK.

The new Joint Fraud Taskforce will include financial Fraud Action UK, the City of London Police, National Crime Agency, Bank of England, fraud prevention agency Cifas and chief executive officers of the major banks.

Due to be officially launched by May today (February 10 2016) in a speech attended by Bank of England Chairman Mark Carney, the Home Secretary is expected to say that ‘fraud shames our financial system’ and that ‘It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life.’

With financial fraud costing the UK approximately £24bn a year, the Joint Fraud Taskforce aims to speed up intelligence sharing between banks and authorities, making the approach in combating fraud more co-ordinated.

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Perhaps taking inspiration from the famous FBI list, the taskforce will also make a public list of the 10 most-wanted fraudsters in the UK, in addition to identifying intelligence gaps, removing weak links in financial systems and developing a more efficient way of identifying victims.

John Lord, Managing Director at global identity data intelligence company GBG, welcomed the initiative by the government, saying that sharing data can only be a good thing. He said: "As instances of fraud increase, so too does the butterfly effect of its occurrence – the implications that impact an individual or business long after the fraudulent activity has occurred or is discovered.

"Data transparency can be used incredibly effectively as a way of battling fraud. When data is shared freely between the public and private sectors, across geographical and political boundaries and amongst international bodies, a more accurate picture of global fraud patterns can be established.

"Those with malicious intent are not static individuals – they move around – and unless free-flowing access to real-time information is possible across multiple countries, their criminal history cannot be effectively tracked and they’re free to commit fraud again.

 
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