TSB issues urgent warning over scale of criminal ‘impersonation fraud’

TSB issues urgent warning over scale of criminal 'impersonation fraud’

With impersonation fraud accounting for a third (33%) of TSB fraud cases since the start of the year, TSB has revealed the most impersonated companies behind the attacks, to help households avoid prolific scams as the cost-of-living bites.

TSB categorises impersonation fraud as an attack in which a criminal impersonates a company, business, organisation or an individual as the key component of the scam. The category accounted for over half (52%) of TSB customer transactions to fraudsters by value in 2021.

New industry figures highlight the ever-present threat of fraud – with over £2 billion worth of cases reported to Action Fraud in under a year.

Impersonation Fraud is a key driver of these losses, as cases have spiked by over 300% since 2019, reaffirming TSB’s decision to step in and protect its customers from increasingly complex scams, by introducing its Fraud Refund Guarantee in April 2019.

The average case across the industry sees a near £4,000 loss5 - and consumers are bombarded with scam calls, text and emails every day.

TSB’s analysis of customer data reveals the main Impersonation Fraud categories driving customer impact, as well as the company names most used to trick victims.

The top five Impersonation Fraud categories by percentage of total loss, are:

  • Bank impersonation fraud - over half (55% of total losses)
  • Authority fraud - over one in eight (13%)
  • Phone & internet provider and tech support fraud – (9%)
  • Delivery fraud – (8%)
  • Amazon fraud - over one in 20 (7%)

Bank Impersonation Fraud is rife across the industry - making up 24% of all fraud losses in UK Finance’s latest fraud data as all banks face impersonation. At TSB, it makes up 21% of all losses TSB is among 12 banks to join the 159 services to provide a route for customers to hang up and check the legitimacy of a call via this phone number.

TSB is also warning over Friends and Family fraud, which recorded the second highest number of cases, overall. It leads to over £1,200 lost per case, many of which are cost-of-living related, as fraudsters send emotive texts, or email requests for financial help, all while posing as a relative, or friend.

TSB launched its Fraud Refund Guarantee in response to rising levels of fraud across the banking sector – as consumers faced increasingly sophisticated and complex scams.

Further figures released today show that £6.7 billion worth of cases have been reported to Action Fraud since April 2019 – leaving other bank customers exposed to life-changing losses, while TSB refunded 97% of cases during some of the most difficult years in generations.

Under the Fraud Refund Guarantee, TSB’s fraud losses are almost a fifth (19%) below the industry average – as the Bank’s relentless focus on fraud has helped to drive down losses.

In Parliament today, TSB will set out the vital next steps needed to tackle fraud with its ‘Tackling Fraud Together’ report with contributions from debt charity, StepChange, MPs and customers. 

Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention, TSB, said: “Households are bombarded with scam calls, texts and emails every day – we’re urging them to remain suspicious of any unsolicited contact, to avoid falling victim to fraud at a time when the impact would be hardest felt.

“We continue to be the only bank to protect customers from fraud losses, through our Fraud Refund Guarantee, which is as important now as it’s ever been to the lives of our customers.”

Phil Andrew, CEO, StepChange, added: “In tough times fraud and financial difficulty go hand in hand. The pandemic has left many households with little or no ability to cope with financial shocks and, as cost-of-living increases start to bite, it’s vital consumers are protected from those seeking to exploit financial and other vulnerabilities.

“People who have lost money to fraudsters need quick and effective help and support, so it’s particularly welcome to see refund support offered to victims of fraud.”

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