North East Connected

North East businesses call on new Police and Crime Commissioner to focus on fraud in the region


A group of North East businesses has written to the newly elected police and crime commissioner for Cleveland to call on him to put tackling fraud at the heart of his agenda as increasing numbers of people and businesses are targeted.

Active Chartered Financial Planners, a Stockton-based finance specialist, Cyberwhite, a cyber security specialist with offices in Middlesbrough and Sunderland, and Lemon Business Solutions, an outsourcing partner in Stockton, have teamed up to invite the newly elected police and crime commissioner for Cleveland, Steve Turner, to discuss how the police and business communities can work together to tackle the increasing levels of financial, data and identity fraud in the North East.

Scamming and fraud is manifesting in increasingly common and creative ways, afflicting huge swathes of society, private individuals and businesses alike. There is probably scarcely a person or organisation in the North East that has not at some time or other been a target of text messages or phone calls, cyber-attacks or phoney investment offers.

In a recent poll by the Money Saving expert, 97 per cent of more than 30,000 people said they had fallen for, or nearly fallen for, a scam by text, call, email, online advertisement, door knocking or social media. Yet only 16.6% of frauds are being reported to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. As methods of fraud become increasingly creative, it is getting more difficult for members of the public, and businesses, to detect that they are being scammed.

Karl Pemberton, managing director of Active Financial Planners, said: “With more than £500 million lost to bank transfer fraud in the UK in 2020, it is crucial that the police and crime commissioner put tackling fraud at the heart of his agenda.

“Scams like the ‘get rich quick’ investments into cryptocurrencies advertised on social media sites let fraudsters easily invite people to part with their personal details including credit card details and driving licences. With the help of Mr. Turner, we can try and find a way to put a stop to the scams.”

David Horn, director of Cyberwhite, said: “Fraudsters are coming up with more and more creative techniques to scam people out of money and data. It is imperative that people and businesses are aware of the signs of fraud and as a cyber security expert, we are looking forward to working with Mr. Turner PCC to reduce the number of scams that individuals in the North East receive and respond to.”

Martin Anderson, chief executive officer at Lemon Business Solutions, said: “As an outsourced contact centre, we specialise in ensuring that all the data that we process remains safe and confidential but we are conscious that this isn’t the case in every business, it is therefore critically important that we raise awareness of the issue of data theft to help prevent businesses in our area being swindled out of huge sums of money, and I  look forward to working with Mr Turner to tackle the relentless scams occurring in our region.”

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