Legal Updates

Information Technology – Security – New Legislation – UK Fraud Bill

The Home Office has published a new Fraud Bill (“the Bill”) which aims to clarify the current very specific fraud offences and close a number of loopholes. The Bill outlines a general offence of fraud with three ways of committing it:

▪     by false representation;

▪     by failing to disclose information; and

▪     by abuse of position.

The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.  The Bill also creates new offences of obtaining services dishonestly and possessing, making and supplying articles for use in frauds.  The new offence of “fraud by false representation” is drafted broadly so as to cover fraudulent internet and other online activities such as “phishing”. Phishing is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit cards, user IDs and passwords.  The false representation must be made dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain or causing loss or risk of loss to another, regardless of whether this actually occurs. A representation is defined as false if it is untrue or misleading. It can be stated in words or inferred by conduct.

An example of representation by conduct would be where a person dishonestly misuses a credit card to pay for items. By using the card, the person is representing that he or she is authorised to use the credit card.

If you require further information contact us at


© RT COOPERS, 2005. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.



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