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Fraud: Internet

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the procedure is for reporting cases of suspected fraudulent sales on the internet; how many investigations have taken place into allegations of such fraud; how many prosecutions in which all proceedings are complete have taken place; and what the outcome was of such prosecutions. (128733)

The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) govern the recording of crime in England and Wales. These are publicly available documents and can be found at:

The police deal with reports of incidents in accordance with the General Principles of NCRS which state:

“All reports of incidents, whether from victims, witnesses or third parties and whether crime related or not, will result in the registration of an incident report by police”.

Following the initial registration, an incident will be recorded as a crime (Notifiable offence) if, on the balance of probability:

(a) the circumstances as reported amount to a crime defined by law (the police will determine this, based on their knowledge of the law and counting rules), and (b) there is no credible evidence to the contrary.

Once recorded, a crime would remain recorded unless there was additional verifiable information to disprove that a crime had occurred.”

The Counting Rules also include specific instructions that relate to the recording of crime in connection with goods ordered over the internet which are as follows:

Location of crime: Goods ordered over the internet:

If goods ordered over the internet (or by phone, mail etc.) do not arrive due to a fraudulent operation, then the following rules apply in order of priority:

If the location of the suspect(s) is either unknown or outside England and Wales, then the crime should be recorded in the force/BCD in whose area the victim is located when they place the order.

If the location of the suspect(s) becomes known and is within England and Wales, then record in the force/BCU area covering that location.

If payment is made electronically then the venue will be the address of the account holder into which the money is transferred or if no address then the address of the bank, provided this is not at headquarters or the site of a computer server.

With regard to the number of investigations, prosecutions and outcomes of frauds directly relating to the internet, this information is not available centrally.