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What is fraud and cyber crime?

Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.

There are many words used to describe fraud: Scam, con, swindle, extortion, sham, double-cross, hoax, cheat, ploy, ruse, hoodwink, confidence trick.

These are just a few words you might hear in relation to fraud. Fraud can be committed against individuals or businesses. Have a look in our A-Z of fraud for information about different types of fraud.

Cyber crime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet.

Facts about fraud and cyber crime ​

The Annual Fraud Indicator 2016 estimates the cost of fraud to the UK is £193bn a year. 

Research conducted on victims of cyber crime between November 2014 and October 2015 also reveals that men lose on average almost three times as much money to cyber criminals than women. The average loss for men was £2,354 compared with only £809 for women. 

  • There were 3.8 million frauds and 2 million cyber crimes last year – based on survey results from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
  • 70% of fraud is cyber enabled (Action Fraud).
  • The City of London Police is currently investigating an estimated £600 million in financial losses.