Norwich named as fraud hotspot

Ben KendallNorwich has been named as a card fraud hotspot with almost 40,000 people living in the city believed to have fallen victim to cons, new figures have revealed.Ben Kendall

Norwich has been named as a card fraud hotspot with almost 40,000 people living in the city believed to have fallen victim to cons, new figures have revealed.

According to the annual Card Fraud Index, compiled by card protection company CPP, 30pc of people quizzed in Norwich have fallen victim to scams - including online fraud and card cloning - at least once in their lifetime.

The survey places the city as the third worst for this type of fraud in the country and claims that card crime in the area has increased by 11pc over the last two years.

On average people questioned in Norwich lost more than �710 to fraudulent transactions, with one in seven victims reporting losses of over �1,000. Nearly a quarter of victims questioned said they had no idea how their card details fell into criminal hands.

The study also reveals how fraudsters have been splashing out using their victims' cash. Over a quarter had their money spent on electronic goods and nearly one in 10 on clothing, while some had fraudsters charging holidays to their accounts.

The firm's card fraud expert Sarah Blaney said: 'We urge all cardholders in Norwich to be vigilant and take steps to protect themselves to avoid falling victim to card criminals.

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'When out and about never let your card out of your sight. It's also really important to check your bank statements regularly and thoroughly so you can spot any suspicious transactions.

'These are simple steps that are very effective in the fight against fraud. If something unusual does appear on your statement, make sure you contact your bank or card protection company straight away.'

Dave Kirkham, from Norfolk police's economic and computer crime unit, said that official figures were not always reliable due to the complex nature of card fraud. But he acknowledged card crime was a growing problem.

He added: 'The cases can be difficult to investigate as, although the victim may be in Norfolk, the offender could be based one the other side of the world and have a bank account in a separate country.

'We have had a number of successful prosecutions in which we have managed to obtain compensation for the victims. In cases where we can't prosecute, we are often able to freeze bank accounts to prevent further fraudulent transactions.'

Mr Kirkham added that Norfolk police was co-operating with the launch of a new government-run National Fraud Reporting Centre, which aims to co-ordinate police forces' response to card fraud - particularly when victims from across the country are targeted by a particular scam.

Mrs Blaney warned of an emerging scam in which criminals take over the running of another person's bank account - usually by changing the address details and then requesting a new card and genuine PIN number. This accounts for half of the fraud cases handled by CPP.

Across the UK, Cardiff was identified as having the highest number of victims, followed by London then Norwich.

The report shows card fraud has increased by more than 6pc nationally in the past two years, equating to nearly an extra three million victims.

Have you been a victim of card fraud? Contact crime correspondent Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or email