According to the UK Government’s newly released Fraud Strategy report, fraud is now the most common form of crime in the UK, costing an estimated £7 billion per annum.  In fact in a separate report issued earlier in 2021, that figure was estimated to be as high as £137 billion each year (source Crowe, University of Portsmouth and Experian titled “The Financial Cost Of Fraud 2021”).

With developments in modern technology opening up new avenues for criminals to target their victims, nine in every ten Internet users have encountered online scams at some point. The government will move to ban telephone ‘number spoofing’ services and other devices or methods commonly used by scammers, such as so-called ‘SIM farms,’ and review the use of mass texting services to keep these technologies out of the hands of criminals.

A new system replacing Action Fraud will be underpinned by a £30 million investment and will provide a simpler route for reporting fraud online, with reduced waiting times and an online portal for victims to receive timely updates on their case progress.  This improved service will also ensure victims’ reports are acted upon more effectively, using data to continue building intelligence as criminals find new ways to target their victims.

On a sperate press release published on 11-May-23 by UK Finance, a body focused primarily on the financial-services sector, over £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in 2022, equivalent to over £2,300 every minute. This includes unauthorised fraud, where the account holder does not provide authorisation for the transaction, and authorised fraud, where the account holder is tricked into authorising a payment to a criminal.  The UK Finance report highlights that APP (authorised push payment) fraud was the most common type of authorised fraud in 2022, accounting for £583.2 million of losses. APP fraud occurs when a customer is deceived into sending money to an account that they believe belongs to a legitimate person or organisation, but is actually controlled by a criminal. The press release states that nearly 80 per cent of APP fraud cases started online, such as through email, text message or social media.

The UK Finance report revealed that impersonation scams were the main driver of APP fraud losses in 2022, with nearly 40 per cent of APP losses due to this type of scam. Impersonation scams involve criminals pretending to be someone else, such as a bank employee, a government official or a company representative, in order to persuade the victim to make a payment or share personal or financial information.

UK Finance advises customers to follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which provides guidance on how to protect oneself from fraud and scams.

Click the button below to access the UK Government Fraud Strategy Report.