The UK government has promised a crackdown on "text-scam misery", rolling out a raft of new measures to fight back against fraud.
The plans, which are to be laid before Parliament on Wednesday, include the the launch of a new National Fraud Squad led by the National Crime Agency and the City of London Police - backed by 400 new posts.
The government has also pledged a £30 million investment in a state-of-the-art reporting centre which will be up and running in the year.
Other measures include the outlawing of 'Sim farms', technical devices that allow criminals to scam texts to thousands of people at the same time, a crackdown on number spoofing and a ban on cold calls for financial products.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says: ”Fraud now accounts for over 40% of crime. It costs us nearly £7 billion a year and we know these proceeds are funding organised crime and terror. What’s more, new technologies are making these scams easier to do and harder to police. It’s time to take the fight to the scammers and fraudsters, and put an end to these crimes which can devastate lives and livelihoods within seconds."
The proposals were rubbished as too little, too late by opposition leaders.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, says: "This plan...fails to match the scale of the problem.
"All the home secretary has delivered is a rebadging of existing national teams, and a re-announcement on the replacement of Action Fraud from almost two years ago."