Freedom of Information (FOI) data from Northumbria Police shows that there were 4,730 cases of fraud against individuals (excluding businesses) in the region over a three-year period.
The Northumbria figures, which reflect that of other police forces from across the UK, shows that, perhaps surprisingly, those most likely to be victims are those aged 22 to 37, known as millennials, despite the common view that fraudsters usually target the old and vulnerable.
The data, compiled by online finance broker Solution Loans, shows that 20 per cent of personal frauds committed in the last three years were done so at the expense of those in the 18-29 age bracket, compared to just nine per cent aged 60 to 69. Collectively, those aged 18-39 were the victims in 35 per cent of fraud cases.
This is put down to younger people’s wider use of the internet and social media; millennials spend more time online overall than their older peers and are much more likely to be on social media, which is increasingly where fraudsters operate.
Previous research from the Policy Network has shown that 80 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are willing to share their email address online and as many as 29 per cent were willing to divulge their mother’s maiden name, a common security question.
In the Northumbria force area, the average lost to fraud was £1,389, however, 14 of the area’s 4,730 fraud victims lost £100,000 or more. In total, £8,702,093 was lost to fraud in the three-year period covered by the data.
The force also reported 127 judicial outcomes to all fraud cases (against businesses and individuals) between October 2017 and March 2018.
Earlier this year, speaking to Northumberland County Council, Chief Constable Winton Keenan said: “The truth is, the world of policing is becoming more challenging. The public, those you represent, have really high expectations of what we can and should do for them.
“Unfortunately some of those expectations we have for all the right reasons are becoming ever more difficult to honour and that’s going to increase because the complexity of crime, as you will all know, is changing massively (for example, cyber crime).”
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service