According to Police Scotland’s Management Information Report, Scotland experienced an increase in financial crimes and incidents of fraud of over a third, when comparing the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 to the Q1 of last year.
In the Q1 of 2017, there were 1,955 incidents of fraud across the country as a whole, and this year it spiked to 2,584. However, there are significant regional differences across the country, and not every region experienced the same increase in financial crime. While Glasgow experienced a 56% rise in the number of fraud crimes, the Highlands experienced a drop from 137 to 81. The biggest increase was seen in East Renfrewshire, where reports of financial crimes trebled from 6 to 18.
According to Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, financial crime has been made easier due to recent technological advancements - such as contactless payments, which allow people to use stolen cards without having access to the owners’ PIN. Scottish people’s enthusiasm for online shopping has also resulted in stolen bank account details. The regional differences might, therefore, be reflective of regional differences in access to technology, as people in the Highlands still experience slower Internet speeds than those in the Central Belt, and often cannot shop online due to companies’ unwillingness to deliver goods to remote locations.
Police Scotland has stated that officers are now being trained in the technological and financial skills necessary to detect and prevent new forms of cyber-crime.
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