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Fraud squad busts twice as many gangs than last year

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Written by: Emma Lunn
08/08/2019
An industry-funded fraud squad has dismantled double the number of criminal gangs in first half of 2019 than it did in the same period last year.

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) disrupted 13 organised crime groups in the first six months of this year, preventing about £6.8m of fraud from taking place, according to figures from UK Finance.

The unit was responsible for convictions of 39 fraudsters and £330,000 of assets being seized from criminal gangs.

The DCPCU is a specialist police unit funded by the banking and finance industry which aims to target the organised criminal gangs responsible for fraud.

It is made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service as well as support staff from UK Finance. Since it was set up in 2002, the unit has prevented or disrupted more than £600m of fraud, including £6.8m in the first half of 2019.

Detective chief inspector Gary Robinson, head of the DCPCU, said: “These figures are testament to the hard work of the DCPCU officers who are on the frontline in the fight against fraudsters. The criminals involved are becoming increasingly organised and dangerous. We are seeing gangs involved in drug trafficking and firearms offences turning to fraud, targeting victims across the UK.

“These criminals are exploiting new technologies to commit fraud, posting adverts on social media to try and recruit money mules. It’s particularly shameful that young people are being targeted in this way by these fraudsters. Meanwhile, vulnerable and elderly customers are also being tricked into handing over their money through callous scams.”

Some of the operational successes by the DCPCU in the first half of 2019 include a gang of fraudsters in South London who used compromised card details and “money mule” accounts to commit almost £200,000 of fraud. In total 10 defendants were sentenced to more than nine years in prison.

The unit also closed down a London-based gang who targeted an elderly woman in Trowbridge, Wiltshire and tricked her into handing over her bank cards through a ‘courier scam’. The victim was persuaded to place her bank cards in an envelope and put them underneath the doormat outside the front door to be collected by a courier. The gang were sentenced to a total of 31 months in prison.

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