POLICE in North Yorkshire have backed a campaign to try and reduce fraud offences and encourage victims to share their stories.

‘Say Something September’ is an initiative aimed at both raising awareness of the most prevalent types of fraud and also encouraging anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud to ensure it is reported to the police.

The latest statistics show an almost 250 per cent increase in the number of instances of fraud reported in North Yorkshire from 2018 to 2019 to date, showing how many people are affected but also that more people are reporting fraud than ever before.

North Yorkshire Police Community Support Officer, Jake Morris, wants to reduce the stigma associated with being a victim of fraud.

He said: “Many people are affected by fraud every single day and the types of fraud we are seeing change and develop all of the time.

“It’s so important that people talk about fraud, particularly their own experiences of it, so that they can help others be vigilant but also to show that being a victim of fraud is nothing to be ashamed of.

“Say Something September is an opportunity to raise awareness of the various ways that fraudsters target their victims and to encourage conversations about fraud.

"We’re particularly asking younger generations to speak to their more vulnerable family members about fraud and cybercrime, supporting them in being able to spot the signs and ensuring they don’t become victims."

As part of the month-long initiative, North Yorkshire Police officers will be visiting community groups and organisations to help raise awareness of fraud and what to do if you think you have been a victim.

PCSO Morris said: “Whilst we have seen a sizeable increase in reports of fraud in North Yorkshire, this doesn’t necessarily mean a rise in incidents but does show more people are reporting it and being aware of the risks.

“Fraud is never the fault of the victim and we all have a role to play in looking out for each other, protecting both ourselves and the people around us.”

Criminals have become increasingly cunning in their fraudulent methods and the internet has created more opportunities to target people.

In May this year Cleveland Police reported that Teesside residents were conned out of more than £800,000 in just one month.

Victims affected were aged between 15 and 88 but those aged 20 to 39 were the biggest group affected, forming 38 per cent of all reports. In this group, fraud relating to online shopping and auctions was the most common cause for a report.

Fraud incidents can be reported to actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.