Nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes have been committed in the past year – which is enough to see the overall number of crimes in England and Wales almost double.
The figures emerged as the most authoritative official estimates on the scale of the offences were revealed, with one in 10 people now said to be a victim of at least one fraud or computer misuse offence.
Questions on the categories were added to the Crime Survey for England and Wales from October and the first findings indicate there were an estimated 3.8 million fraud and two million computer misuse offences experienced by victims in the year prior to interview.
The “experimental” numbers, published by the Office for National Statistics, were separate from the headline estimated figure of 6.3 million crimes perpetrated against adults in the year to March, which was a 6 per cent fall on the previous 12 months.
This suggests the overall crime rate could be almost double the level previously reported.
Statisticians said the survey indicates that fraud is now the most common crime likely to be experienced by the general population, with people 20 times more likely to be a victim of fraud than robbery, and 10 times more likely to suffer fraud than theft.
Of the two million computer misuse incidents, the majority involved a computer or internet-enabled device being infected with a virus, accounting for 1.4 million incidents.
The remaining 0.6 million crimes related to “unauthorised access to personal information” – such as hacking.
The most common types of fraud experienced were bank and credit account fraud, with 2.5 million incidents, followed by “non-investment” fraud – such as scams related to online shopping.
John Flatley of the ONS said: “This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey.
“Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other crime survey offences.
“However, it would be wrong to concluded that actual crime levels have doubled, since the survey previously did not cover these offences.”