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Fraudsters cost Norfolk County Council £50k in last year, report reveals


By David Hannant, Local Democracy Reporter


Tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money could have been lost to fraudsters targetting County Hall in the past year – it has been revealed.

Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)
Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)

A report, which is due to go before Norfolk County Council’s audit committee later this week, has revealed potential losses to the authority of £53,100 in the financial year ending March 2019.

And while it is a figure that may still be recovered, it is significantly larger than the £20,160 the council was successfully able to recoup last year.

Over the course of the financial year, 16 separate cases of potential fraud were reported, six of which are still ongoing investigations.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We can not comment on individual cases as several are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

“Given the size of the county council, cases of fraud are very rare, but we take every case very seriously and have robust systems in place to detect and prevent them from happening.

“Our IT department regularly test for vulnerabilities and we communicate regularly to staff about the importance of cyber security.”

Earlier this year it was revealed the county council faces tens of thousands of cyber attacks every day, including around a dozen a day that pose serious risks.

One particular cyber crime involved a bank account of the council, through which payments can be made to county council services.

This account was targetted seven times in 2017/18, which resulted in the loss of £180 to the council.

Had this not been detected it would then have resulted in the loss of a further £2,160.

The account was again targeted by cyber attacks in the past year on nine separate occasions – with the potential loss of £3,000.

However, successful measures put into place to combat this particular type of attack meant nothing was lost.

The County Hall spokesman added: “The £53,100 figure is a ‘worst case’ scenario, so it may be that the actual final figure is lower.”

The report will be discussed by Norfolk County Council’s audit committee at a meeting this Thursday, April 18.



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