- By Caroline Bilton & Chloe Laversuch
- BBC News East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
The amount of money lost to scams in the Humberside Police area has more than doubled over four years.
Officers said £21.7m was stolen from residents in 2021 to 2022 as a result of fraud, up from £8.6m in 2018-2019.
Almost 8,000 people reported falling victim in 2021-22, although officers suspect the figure is likely to be higher as many crimes go unreported.
Det Insp Ben Robinson urged more people to come forward, warning fraud had become a “completely normalised” crime.
People were more likely to be a victim of a scam than any other type of crime, he said.
Humberside Police received 7,972 reports of people being scammed in 2021-22, up from 6,875 in 2018-19.
In 2019-20, the force received 7,471 reports (total £13.7m), while in 2020-21, it received 7,735 reports (total also £13.7m).
Det Insp Robinson, from the force’s economic crime unit, said: “If you get a text message, do you say to your friends ‘I have been targeted by criminals’ or do you just think ‘oh that’s fraudulent’?
“I can’t think of any other crime type that we laugh about.”
He urged people to report scams to police even if they had got their money back.
“Without that reporting coming through, we don’t know the different types of trends, we don’t know what crimes are being targeted at a particular area,” he said.
‘He was very convincing’
Linda from Hull was phoned by a scammer who said he was from the fraud department of her bank and that her card was being used by someone in Manchester.
Linda, who told him she had not used her card in the past six months while she was undergoing cancer treatment, said she felt suspicious.
But she said the man was so convincing that she began what she believed was the process of protecting her account.
“I felt as if I had done something wrong at the beginning of the phone call,” she said.
“He was very convincing.”
Linda ended the call and her bank immediately contacted her to block her account, meaning she did not lose any money.
But the scammers accessed her Facebook and email accounts. Two years later, she said she was still fearful.
“I still feel now that they have got everything. It’s left me scared,” she said.
“I would give anything if I could have all my privacy back.”
Humberside Police said around 70% of scams originated from outside the UK.
It is “a lot harder” for police to prosecute fraudsters who are abroad, Det Insp Robinson said, but he added that if officers knew about the types of scam they were carrying out, they could warn people.
“If they are in the UK, obviously we will target all the resource we have to try to find that individual and bring them to justice,” he said.
“We can’t just sit back, we have to fight back.”