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Online Fraud

Volume 711: debated on Thursday 24 March 2022

8. What steps she is taking to (a) ensure prosecution of people who commit online fraud and (b) recover stolen funds for victims of online fraud. (906262)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. Economic crime is highly complex, often cyber-enabled and spans multiple jurisdictions. In recognition of that and to keep pace with the changing nature of crime, the CPS published its first ever economic crime strategy last year, which affirms its commitment to improving criminal justice outcomes and supporting victims. The conviction rate for fraud and forgery over the past period was 84.9%, and, as I indicated, in the past five years £568 million was enforced in respect of CPS-obtained confiscation orders.

Has the Minister seen the Age UK report and the way that organised crime, which includes highly sophisticated big players, is targeting elderly people? A total of 800,000 elderly people were defrauded last year. Somebody is defrauded every few seconds in this country. These players are homing in on our most vulnerable people, and what we are doing as a Government—no, what he and his colleagues are doing as a Government—seems to be amateur when compared with these professionals.

That is why I am so delighted that at the spending review the Government allocated a full £400 million to boost efforts in the fight against crime—money that goes to the National Economic Crime Centre, the National Crime Agency and the police—together with 20,000 additional police officers. Those fraudsters need to understand that there is nowhere for them to hide.