Millions cancel plastic cards while UK fraud cases hit one every 15 seconds
More than four million people in the UK had to cancel credit or debit cards after falling victim to fraud in the last year, according to a new study.
A survey commissioned by price comparison website, comparethemarket.com, found that of the more than 2,000 adults asked, one in 10 said they had been targeted by scams that meant they had to replace their cards.
In 62 per cent of cases, money was successfully removed from the account, with an average of £475 stolen.
This equates to 4.5 million credit or debit cards being cancelled in the previous 12 months, with more than £2.1 billion stolen in total, according to website.
Nearly a third (31 per cent) of those who were defrauded reported falling victim to a hack that occurred when making a payment online.
One in 10 (10 per cent) had their card duplicated at an ATM and a small proportion (8 per cent) said they had been hacked when making a contactless payment.
Jody Baker, head of money at comparethemarket.com, said: “We’re constantly being warned of the dangers of cyber attacks but it is still a shock if it happens to you.
“Most of the transactions we make now are digital and our research suggests more than a quarter of people carry as little as £10 in cash.
“With so many of us shopping and banking on the internet, combined with a rise in contactless payments, it is more important than ever to be vigilant when managing your money.
“It is a good idea to regularly check your bank statements for any unusual activity, as criminals often make small but regular thefts which are harder to spot than larger one-off purchases.”
News of the effect on UK card holders came as a different study revealed that a financial scam was committed in the UK once every 15 seconds during the first half of 2016.
More than one million cases of card, cheque, phone or online fraud were recorded from January to June, Financial Fraud Action (FFA) said.
That was a 53 per cent rise on the same period last year.
The FFA, which is funded by banks and payment card firms, is pushing advice to help prevent fraud.
Banks claim they are stopping £7 of every £10 in potential fraud losses, but millions of pounds is still being lost to fraudsters.
Last year, financial fraud losses reached £755m - a 26% increase on the previous year.
With many people are too embarrassed to admit they have been caught out that figure could be significantly higher.
Losses are often refunded by banks, but not in every case.
Email deception, as well as phone and text-based scams are now common tools in the modern-day bank robber’s trade - reflected in official crime figures which now include fraud data.
Fraud and cyber crime account for nearly half of all offences, according to the British Crime Survey.
A survey by FFA suggested that this was most commonly because victims felt the caller was genuine, with nearly four in 10 being caught out as they felt pressurised, with a similar proportion letting their guard down when they were busy.
The Take Five campaign, backed by police, the banking industry and consumer groups, is aimed at ensuring busy lives do not make people easy targets.
“We are asking people to take five - to take that moment - to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details,” said Katy Worobec, director of FFA.
Home Office Security Minister Ben Wallace, said: “The impact of financial fraud can be devastating on victims, with fraudsters using increasingly cunning and convincing tactics. They prey on people who are trying to get on with their lives but in a moment where they are busy or distracted become vulnerable.
“At the same time, the government is working closely with law enforcement and the banking sector through the Joint Fraud Taskforce to take action to stop the organised criminals behind financial fraud.”