£85m in fraud prevented by DCPCU
A specialist police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), which targets the organised criminal gangs behind fraud prevented £85m being stolen in the first half of this year, according to UK Finance.
The DCPCU is funded by the banking and finance industry and is made up of officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police Service and colleagues from UK Finance.
Investigations by the DCPCU during the first six months of 2021 led to the arrest of 67 suspected criminals, including several involved in scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic, with 24 organised criminal gangs disrupted.
Some 49 criminals were convicted during the period following DCPCU operations.
This year the unit has successfully targeted several criminals seeking to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a criminal who was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for sending out thousands of scam texts which harvested people’s personal and financial details by claiming to be from the NHS about a COVID-19 vaccination.
Other successful operations by the unit include the sentencing of an organised crime group who committed £1.2m of fraud, and the jailing of a criminal who stole £172,000 from cash machines.
Close collaboration with social media and telecommunications partners enabled the DCPCU to take down 125 social media accounts linked to fraudulent activity.
The unit is currently investigating over 140 live cases, including 43 organised crime groups.
Gary Robinson, head of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), said: “These figures are testament to the hard work of the DCPCU officers who are on the frontline in the fight against fraudsters.
“Criminals continued in their attempts to capitalise on the pandemic by targeting people’s finances and anxieties, impersonating trusted organisations such as the NHS and government departments.
“By working closely with the banking industry and other partners including the Crown Prosecution Service we are continuing cracking down on those responsible for fraud.”
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, added: “Fraud has a devastating emotional impact on victims and the money stolen goes on to fund serious organised crime, including terrorism, human trafficking and drugs smuggling.
“The DCPCU is central to the industry’s efforts to protect customers from fraud, disrupting the criminal gangs responsible and providing a strong deterrent to potential fraudsters.
“The unit’s collaborative work with banks, social media companies, the telecoms sector and government has been instrumental in bringing criminals to justice and preventing fraud.
“It’s important to remember that criminals will always be on the lookout to scam people so we urge everyone to follow the advice of our Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign: always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.”