CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service have revealed emerging hotspots of fraud activity in the UK during the first six months of 2013. While fraud remains at its most concentrated within the area of densest population (the boroughs of Greater London), some other, perhaps more surprising, areas have been shown to be fraud epicentres during the first half of the year.

In particular, postal districts around Slough, Luton, St Albans, Leicester and Coventry are areas where fraudulent activity has been most prevalent, as opposed to larger urban centres such as Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.

London: the capital of fraud

With the highest population levels of the UK, it is unsurprising that London is the area where the highest number of confirmed frauds has been committed during the first half of 2013. 

CIFAS Communications Manager, Richard Hurley, comments: That fraud is at its most prevalent in London is not surprising. This has been the case for many years. A larger population means more individuals who may consider making fraudulent applications, but it also means that there are more potential victims for an organised identity criminal. The top ten postal areas, however, show a divergence of locations within the Greater London boroughs: from Wembley and Enfield to East Ham and Barking, and from Woolwich and Thamesmead to Croydon. This shows that any notion that fraud is concentrated solely within a specific area of London is not true and that fraud can, and will, take place anywhere 

Greater London  Break down of areas  
Postal area Name No. of confirmed frauds
E6 East Ham District 840
SE18 Woolwich District 751
IG11 Barking 740
EN3 Enfield 722
CR0 Croydon 691
SE1 South Eastern Head District 647
SE28 Thamesmead District 629
E7 Forest Gate District 575
E16 Victoria  Docks & North Woolwich District 570
HA0 Wembley 564

Other fraud hotspots are not the most populous UK centres

Outside the postal areas that fall within the Greater London boroughs, however, there are some notable clusters of activity – and these are not to be found in other large centres of population within the UK. Instead, the SL1 and LU1 postal areas (Slough and Luton) are the areas with the highest levels of fraud, while the Coventry and Leicester postcode areas both feature more than once in the top ten areas outside London (four times and twice respectively).

Richard Hurley concludes: What these figures prove is that fraud will take place anywhere. While Coventry and Leicester, for example, are populous cities, it is surprising to see these areas identified as having higher levels of fraud than other, much larger, cities. This demonstrates that fraud is no longer a crime that can simply be thought of as occurring in the largest cities. But it also presents a challenge to individuals and organisations based in these areas. It is vital that both work together with a view to diminishing the risks, not least to ensure that individuals understand what precisely constitutes fraud. For example, it is important that individuals and organisations share the responsibility of ensuring that personal data is protected from identity fraudsters who might be targeting these areas

Rest of the UK
Postal area Name No. of confirmed frauds
SL1 Slough 441
LU1 Luton 377
AL10 Hatfield 368
CV1 Coventry 334
LE2 Leicester 334
CV3 Coventry 314
NN1 Northampton 301
LE3 Leicester 299
CV2 Coventry 272
CV6 Coventry 242