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UK: Bid to use criminal cash to refund scam victims
15 Jun 2021

The government is considering a proposal from banks that criminally-obtained funds are used to pay back other victims.

Three-quarters of those asked in the survey said they supported the idea.

But the amount frozen in these accounts would be vastly insufficient to cover the bill.

Pandemic scams

Last month, the BBC revealed data showing that various kinds of scams had surged during the coronavirus pandemic.

Online shopping scams, in which fraudsters posted bogus adverts for pets, cars and caravans, were up.

The YouGov survey of 1,700 people suggested that one in four adults are being bombarded with scam attempts on a daily basis, rising to nearly a third of over-65’s.

It also suggested there would be public support for the idea – first proposed by banks – that suspected criminal funds should be used to repay victims, although this would fall far short of the hundreds of millions of pounds needed.

While total fraud in the UK reached £1.26bn last year, the amount in these frozen accounts was last estimated to be £130m.

Romance scams have also risen during the Covid crisis, affecting men and women of all ages.

Consumer group Which? said the true scale of the crime was likely to be much higher as many victims were too embarrassed or upset to tell the authorities.

In a report on economic crime by the government and the banking trade body, UK Finance, published last month, ministers said they were looking into the idea of using seized funds for reimbursement.

By Kevin Peachey, BBC, 11 June 2021

Read more at BBC

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