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pounds 20m drive to combat fraud.

PUBLIC and private sector group the North East Fraud Forum (NEFF) has called on the Government to work more closely with it in its new pounds 20m drive to fight fraud.

Yesterday Government officials visited the region and laid out national plans to tackle the rising tide of fraud - which has soared this year as fraudsters take advantage of the vulnerable, cash-strapped consumers hit by tough economic conditions.

The Government has invested over pounds 20m in setting up the National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA) after witnessing a 50% climb in fraud in the UK in the first six months of the year.

But representatives of the NEFF - which has been tackling fraud in the region for the past four years - believe the body can play a major role in helping the national anti-fraud battle.

Board member Andrew Robinson said: "The NEFF has built up a track record in the region in the fight against fraud for the last four years while the NFSA is new, so it must be the case that if NFSA in London provides some funding for the NEFF here it will give better results because we have tools and bigger awareness in the fight against cyber crime.

"There's no doubt the region has set a benchmark and this was the first regional fraud forum in the country. We are working with universities here to develop a research capacity. We believe that for the future we have to strengthen what we do, which means bringing in research and development from universities here in the region and working with London."

NFSA official Daniel Hurl, who spoke at the NEFF Credit Crunch Seminar in Newcastle yesterday, agreed that it would be "vital" for the authority to work closely with regional organisations like the NEFF in the future. He said the new national organisation would strive to make the UK one of the hardest places in the world for fraudsters to prosper.

"The UK should be the world's hardest target for fraudsters and we will look to secure international collaboration. This is not a talking shop, it's about strategic delivery," he said.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2008
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