Cybercrime victims forced to hire private investigators in the UK

Online fraud and cybercrime victims turn to private detectives because police refuse to investigate. One firm mentioned that it was handling with tons of cases a year from victims of scams who had no progress after going through official channels.

Meanwhile, a lawyer who deals with data breaches which can lead to cybercrime said that he did not know any member of the public who had been satisfied with the response from the authorities after losing money.

The Times revealed that tens of thousands of victims of scams were having their cases rejected by a computer algorithm as unworthy of investigation, after making reports to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting center. Only cases associating over ₤ 100,000 are immediately passed to an investigator.

Jack Roberts, managing director of Global Investigations, an agency in London, said that he handles over 200 cases a year for members of the public who had lost money to online scams but were informed by police that there was nothing more they could do.

“They go to the police first. They are sent to Action Fraud, who keep them on the hook for three or four weeks,” Jack said. “Then, they say they can’t do anything, so they’re coming to us.”

Sean Humber, partner and head of the HR department at the law firm Leigh Day, said: “I have spoken to many individuals who are scammed. Their dealing with Action Fraud has been a hopeless one.”

Approximately 290,000 crime reports a year are submitted to Action Fraud. Victims are notified that due to the high volume of cases, they should expect to wait three months for an update. A Home Office spokesman insisted that the government would take the threat of fraud and the impact on members of the public and business “very seriously.”