The shocking scale of online fraud has been exposed by figures showing Norfolk victims were fleeced out of more than £90m in just three months – or almost £1m a day.
The number of people falling prey to fraudsters has leapt alarmingly with many losing tens of thousands to online, email and text message scams.
New data collated by Norfolk Constabulary has revealed that the county’s total consumer losses from fraud and cybercrime to people and businesses in the last three months of 2021 increased to £90,686,885 – a 20-fold rise on the same period in 2020.
The timescale covers the Black Friday and Christmas shopping period and was during the pandemic, when more people were at home.
“The pandemic meant door to door fraud crimes dropped but online phishing scams, text messages and emails saw big increases,” said John Greenwood, cyber security advisor for Norfolk and Suffolk police, who supplied the figures.
“We have had people reporting losing many thousands of pounds. Its effect can be devastating.”
Norfolk police reported that incidents of online fraud and computer misuse had risen by a fifth in 2021, in a sign that criminals increasingly prefer using computers rather than crowbars to part victims from their money.
“For the criminals it is less risky…