Princess Anne calls for global effort to tackle fraud as UK sees more than 3.5 million cases

Fraud is perpetrated with such speed that a joint global effort is required to tackle the crime, HRH Princess Anne told the opening of the Global Fraud Summit.

The inaugural event held at the Guildhall in London sees senior ministers and representatives from 11 countries discuss how law enforcement agencies can come together to enhance the global fight against fraudsters.

International ministers are set to agree new action to take down fraudsters as the Princess Royal warned the victims of fraud are "ordinary people everywhere in the world, particularly those who are least equipped to defend themselves".

"The internet is global. And so are fraudsters, they're globally organised and our response needs to be too," she said, adding that fraudsters themselves do not take their crime seriously and think fraud is a victimless crime.

Home Secretary James Cleverly told the gathering that fraud is "often an overlooked crime" that happens "invisibly".

"It happens in a way that victims are unaware of, and perhaps when the victim has become aware of the crime they feel too embarrassed to do anything about it."

Mr Cleverly is set to host a series of meetings with senior ministers and representatives from the G7, Five Eyes, Singapore and South Korea to discuss the threats posed by organised crime groups, and how global law enforcement can tackle them.

The National Crime Agency warns fraud is a global problem, with around 70% of all offences in the UK having ties to overseas criminals, and £3bn lost to overseas accounts last year. The UK is expected to use the two-day summit to raise the prospect of creating a mechanism to repatriate funds that are lost overseas due to fraud.

In the UK, fraud is the most commonly experienced crime, accounting for over 40% of crime in England and Wales.

An estimated 3.5 million incidents of fraud were experienced by adults between April 2022 and March 2023. The Office for National Statistics says it is the crime with the highest likelihood of victimisation.

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'We must close existing gaps'

Interpol's threat assessment due to be published on Monday is expected to show a concerning rise in fraud in all corners of the globe and outline the increasing threats posed by scam centres.

The global organisation's latest report shows fraud is often perpetrated by organised criminal groups, including human traffickers, who force people to work in scam centres which target potential victims of fraud across the world.

Interpol secretary general Jurgen Stock warned urgent action is required: "Changes in technology and the rapid increase in the scale and volume of organized crime has driven the creation of a range of new ways to defraud innocent people, business and even governments.

"It is important that there are no safe havens for financial fraudsters to operate. We must close existing gaps and ensure information sharing between sectors and across borders is the norm, not the exception. This summit is both timely, and needed."