Latest crime and victims survey reveals surge in fraud and deception offences

Fraud and cybercrimes have low reporting rates because they are 'too trivial'

Latest crime and victims survey reveals surge in fraud and deception offences

The Ministry of Justice has released the result of the latest New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS), revealing an increase in fraud and deception offences.

The survey is based on interviews conducted between November 2021 and November 2022. It shows 31 per cent of New Zealanders experienced crime over the 12 months before the interview and nearly one-third of adults have been victims of personal and household crimes.

Ministry of Justice general manager sector insights Rebecca Parish said that while the proportion of adults experiencing crime remained consistent with previous years, the survey identified a surge in deception and fraud offences, such as credit card fraud. This rise in fraud and deception offences has contributed to an overall increase in the number of reported crime incidents, reaching 2.47 million in the 12-month period covered by the survey. Over the same period, fraud and deception offences grew from 288,000 to 510,000.

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The survey also revealed that fraud and cybercrime have the lowest reporting rates. Reasons for not reporting crimes varied, the most common reason being that victims considered the incidents too trivial to report. Additionally, the survey found that a small group of individuals, comprising only four per cent of adults, experienced most of the reported crimes.

“It’s important to remember that behind every statistic is a person and their personal experience. We’re now conducting further research to understand more about this group and to inform policies that will better support these victims,” Parish said.

Fraud and deception, burglaries, and physical offences like assault and robbery were among the most prevalent crimes experienced by the survey respondents. The survey also revealed certain demographic trends, showing that individuals identifying as LGBT+, those separated from a partner or spouse, and Māori individuals were more likely to experience at least one crime.

The Ministry of Justice also released a report examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on crime and victimization. The report found that the overall rate of crime and victimization remained stable at 30 per cent. However, the proportion of households or adults experiencing burglary decreased significantly while the incidence of fraud and deception rose.

Parish said, “With the NZCVS now in its fifth year, this comparative analysis is the kind of work we are now able to undertake. These trends are most likely linked to changes in behaviour after the COVID-19 pandemic started, such as more people working remotely and shopping online.”

The NCVS is the most comprehensive data source on adult crime victims. There are five years of data, representing almost 35,000 interviews since data was first collected in March 2018.

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