Police have issued a warning that people who falsely report crime could face being imprisoned themselves.
The warning from West Midlands Police is aimed particularly at people falsely reporting mobile-phone robbery, either for insurance purposes or in an attempt to get an upgraded phone.
Other offenders report lost benefit cheques or cash stolen in an attempt to get more money from benefit agencies.
Some youngsters worried about telling parents or guardians they have lost or broken items of property have also been found to be making false robbery reports.
If officers uncover evidence that a report is false, the person making the bogus claim could face prosecution for deception or attempting to pervert the course of justice.
They could also be issued with a fixed penalty notice for £80 for wasting police time.