Record breaking £101 million of fraud prevented by banking and finance industry-funded police unit

A specialist police unit which targets the organised criminal gangs behind fraud prevented a record £101 million from being stolen in 2021, the highest amount in the unit’s 20-year history.

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) which is funded by the banking and finance industry, is made up of officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police Service and colleagues from UK Finance.

Investigations by the DCPCU during 2021 led to the arrest of 123 suspected criminals and 41 disruptions against 23 organised criminal gangs. 83 criminals were convicted following successful DCPCU operations. The unit also seized over £1.2 million of assets.

Several individuals were jailed for their involvement in scams exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the unit saw the successful sentencing of an individual who sent out thousands of scam texts claiming to be from the NHS which harvested people’s personal and financial details by offering a Covid-19 vaccination.

Other successful operations by the unit include the sentencing of an organised crime group to a combined total of over eight years in prison for committing benefit fraud, and the jailing of a criminal who committed over £940,000 of fraud through harvesting customers’ details online and via mail theft.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, the head of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), said:

The DCPCU is working tirelessly to disrupt the organised criminal gangs behind fraud and protect the public. I am immensely proud of the unit’s investigations which have prevented £101 million from going into the hands of criminals, a record amount in our 20-year history.

“While criminals will seek out opportunities to defraud the public, our close partnerships with the banking and finance industry and other partners including mobile phone companies and the Crown Prosecution Service have been instrumental in bringing them to justice.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, commented:

The DCPCU’s impressive results are an important example of the banking and finance industry’s close collaboration with law enforcement on protecting the public from fraud.

“The unit’s work in tackling organised criminal gangs has stopped stolen money from funding other serious criminal activities, including terrorism, human trafficking and drugs smuggling.  

“Unfortunately, criminals will continue to try and scam the public, 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.

Commander Nik Adams, from the City of London Police, said:

Criminals used the global pandemic to prey on people’s fears and anxieties to steal their money, and officers from the DCPCU worked relentlessly throughout to protect the public.

“The unit continues to go from strength to strength and it is a testament to officers’ hard work that, in the year of their 20th anniversary, they have prevented a record amount of £101 million from going into the hands of criminals. A huge well done to the DCPCU.

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Notes to editor

  1. The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a unique proactive police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is fully sponsored by the banking and finance industry, with an on-going brief to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It is headed up by a Detective Chief Inspector and comprises officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators and colleagues.
  2. Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. Take Five urges the public to remember that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police, and to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine before parting with any personal or financial information.
  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.