CASES of fraud are rising rapidly in Renfrewshire, according to recent police statistics.
Between the start of April and the end of August, incidents rose 60 per cent above the five-year average to a total of 181 crimes.
Police say many of the reports related to cyber crimes such as phishing, where an attacker sends a fake message designed to trick someone into revealing sensitive information.
Between April and July, a total of 222 cyber-crimes were identified and more than half were fraud-related.
However, overall crime in Renfrewshire decreased by more than 12 per cent during the period compared to the previous five-year average, with a dramatic fall in housebreakings recorded.
A report presented to Renfrewshire Council’s police and fire scrutiny board stated: “Fraud continues to be one of the few crimes of dishonesty for which an increase has been recorded, with reported crimes rising 60.2 per cent above the five-year average to a total of 181 crimes.
“Many of these continue to be cyber-enabled, with phishing and vishing scams and internet order fraud increasingly being reported by members of the public.
“Analysis undertaken by Police Scotland’s Cybercrime Unit identified 222 cyber crimes in the period of April to July 2021 in Renfrewshire.
“The majority of these (57 per cent) related to financial/economic offences, including cyber-enabled fraud and phishing/spam attacks.
“A further 28 per cent of these related to sexual offences, with most of these targeting children.
“Investigations have identified that at least 13 cyber crimes originated from outside of Scotland, though the true number is almost certain to be considerably higher.”
Housebreaking crimes fell by almost 37 per cent between April and August against the previous five-year average to a total of 96 reports, while motor vehicle crime fell by around 6 per cent.
Overall, violent crime fell by almost 4 per cent during the five-month spell compared to the same period last year.
The report said violent crime was down by almost 10 per cent against the previous five-year average, which equates to 84 fewer victims of violence in Renfrewshire.