DCPCU prevents £85m of fraud in six months

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, (DCPCU), the sector that targets the organised criminal gangs behind fraud, has prevented a further £85m from being stolen in the first half of 2021.

Funded by the banking and finance industry, its investigations from January to June in 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.

Its collaboration with social media and telecommunications partners enabled the DCPCU to take down 125 social media accounts linked to fraudulent activity, and Gary Robinson, head of DCPCU, noted: 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.”

This year, the unit’s efforts of prevention included a criminal who was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for sending out thousands of scam texts by claiming to be from the NHS about a COVID vaccination. 

Other operations include the sentencing of an organised crime group who committed £1.2m of fraud, and the jailing of a criminal who stole £172k from cash machines.

“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, commented: “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.”

Pre-pandemic, the unit uncovered 13 organised crime groups in the first half of 2019, (notably less than 2021). This doubled the figures in the same period of 2018, and Robinson also called for more measures to be put in place to prevent fraudsters using social media platforms to recruit young people as ‘money mules’.

Worobec added: “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.”