RESIDENTS have been urged to be vigilant after thousands of fraud incidents were reported to police over the last year.

New research carried out by QR Code Generator QRFY has revealed that North Wales Police has received more than 3,000 individual fraud reports over the past 13 months.

The analysis looked at data from Action Fraud and the Office for National Statistics to uncover how many reports each police force had in England and Wales, over the past 13 months - and the most common type of fraud. 

In that time, Action Fraud recorded 395,105 reports of individual fraud across England and Wales - with a reported loss of £2.3 billion. 89 per cent (351,451) of these reports were found to be filed by individuals.

North Wales Police recorded 3,275 individual fraud reports over that time period.

The most common category of fraud recorded by the force was ‘online shopping and auction’ fraud, which refers to the non-delivery of products bought by a consumer, or the misrepresentation of a product.

The second most common category of fraud reported by the police force was ‘cheque, plastic cards and Online Bank Account (non PSP)’ which refers to cases where criminals pretend to be someone with authority asking individuals to use their credit cards, debit cards, repayment cards, store cards, and cheques that are linked to a bank account, ultimately resulting in a loss for the individual. 

Following in their third top fraud is ‘other advance fee fraud'.

Speaking on the findings, Marc Porcar, CEO of QRFY said: “The internet and widespread online connectivity has certainly created more opportunities for fraudsters to exploit people’s vulnerabilities. As more transactions and interactions occur online, there is a greater potential for individuals to fall victim to these kinds of scams.

Fraudsters are constantly developing new techniques that trick people into handing over access to their personal accounts, or finances. Large-scale data breaches which expose peoples’ personal information, also make it easier for criminals to impersonate individuals or commit identity theft.” 

People are encouraged to bear the following safety tips in mind:

  • Be cautious about sharing personal information online: Only share information with trusted websites and be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting personal details. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication: This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, making it harder for unauthorised individuals to gain access.
  • Monitor your accounts regularly: Check your bank statements and credit card reports for any suspicious activity and report any discrepancies immediately.

Detective Sergeant Anne-Louise Jones, who specialises in fraud, said: “Action Fraud record all frauds and cyber crime that are recorded nationally.  In the last 13 months they have recorded 3,275 individual fraud reports linked to North Wales.

“Many of these victims are vulnerable and have received specialist support from North Wales Police staff to safeguard them and prevent them from being targeted further.   All victims of fraud who report to North Wales Police are given advice based on the particular fraud type, this includes ways to possibly get their money back and fraud prevention advice. Given the nature of Fraud the perpetrators can be based elsewhere in the country or the world.

“One of the biggest areas of fraud reported is On-line shopping Fraud.  Criminals regularly target victims who shop online, both as buyers and as sellers, and there is a wide range of tactics criminals use to target their victims. This fraud type can include fake or cloned websites that are designed to mimic a legitimate company. Fraudsters may also set up companies offering inferior or counterfeit goods for sale online at high prices which may include fake reviews or unrealistic claims.

“Auction sites are regularly misused by fraudsters in a number of ways, so it is always recommended that people check the auction sites payment policies before making any purchase. Consumers should be wary of any seller requesting a large deposit or even payment in full direct into their bank account, rather than using PayPal or a credit card that provides additional protection.

“Being safe on line is very important and we urge people to use strong passwords and where possible enable two-factor authentication.

“For advice on fraud prevention please visit How to spot fraud - Stop! Think Fraud - How to stay safe from scams (”