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Six million fraud and cyber crimes were committed in England and Wales last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Its figures showed that in the 12 months to the end of March there were two million computer misuse offences and 3.8 million fraud offences – totalling 5.8 million.

The most common types of computer misuse crimes included the infection of internet-connected devices with viruses and “unauthorised access to personal information”.

It is the first time the ONS has published official estimates of these kinds of crimes in its victimisation survey report.

“With one in ten people in the UK becoming a victim fraud or cyber crime, it is clear that the fraud problem can no longer be ignored,” said John Lord, managing director at GBG.

“Unfortunately, in this age whereby our personal data is so easily accessible through social media sites, for example, it’s no longer a question of if that personal information gets compromised, it’s when. It’s important that we all realise we have a responsibility in stopping the fraudsters in their tracks.

“For the individual, it’s about knowing how valuable your personal information is and taking the right measures to protect it. For businesses and governments, data transparency can be used incredibly effectively as a way of battling fraud.

“When data is shared freely between the public and private sectors, across geographical and political boundaries and amongst international bodies, a more accurate picture of global fraud patterns can be established.

“Those with malicious intent are not static individuals – they move around – and unless free-flowing access to real-time information is possible across multiple countries, their criminal history cannot be effectively tracked and they’re free to commit fraud again.

“Using accurate data to connect the dots, predict algorithms and identify behaviour patterns are all crucial to building out an intelligent view of fraud.”

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