Boris Johnson has insisted his government takes online fraud seriously, after failing to include it in crime statistics.
The prime minister was reprimanded last week by a watchdog for claiming crime had fallen by 14%, which is only correct if fraud is excluded. Sir Keir Starmer accused him of “turning a blind eye to swindlers” in Prime Minister’s Questions.
Johnson said the government “hates online fraud” and was addressing it. But he rejected a call from Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey to “correct the crime record and apologize”. PM was wrong to claim crime has dropped, watchdog says
Call to take action against financial fraudsters Sir Ed said Janet, a 74-year-old woman, had told the BBC she had been robbed of £25,000 by swindlers.
Hate fraud He said: “For Janet, and for the four million people who fell victim to swindlers and swindlers last year, fraud is a crime. He asked the prime minister if he and his ministers understand the “harm” they cause to victims of fraud when they “exclude them from crime figures and dismiss fraud as something people don’t experience in their daily lives. Janet was one of 69 known victims of a scam in which criminals stole £3.9m since 2018, but only one of her cases has been investigated, an investigation by BBC Radio 4’s Money Box has found.
The prime minister said that Sir Ed “knows very, very well that this government hates fraud, it hates online fraud.
He added: “We’re tackling scammers by helping people introduce themselves when they get an email, when they get scammed of course we’re helping them in any way we can. But we’re also cutting crime that affects people across the country, crime in neighborhoods, dealing with drug gangs on county lines.”
In last Monday’s House of Commons debate on Sue Gray’s report on the Downing Street lockdown parties, Johnson said crime had dropped by 14%.
But the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) watchdog said the prime minister “did not make it clear” that the figure excluded fraud.