UK financial fraud hits £400m

Financial fraud in the first half of 2016 increased by a quarter to almost £400 million, enabled by scams and online attacks, new figures published today by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) show.

Banks’ security systems continued to prevent the majority of fraud from taking place, with prevented fraud totalling £678.7 million, FFA UK said.

This is equivalent to £6 in every £10 of attempted fraud being stopped.

Total financial fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques were £399.5 million in the first half of the year, a 25 per cent increase on the same period in 2015, when total losses were £320.3 million.

Losses on payment cards – which includes remote purchase fraud, lost and stolen cards, card not received, counterfeit card and card ID theft – stood at £321.5 million, compared to £244.6 million in the first half of 2015, an increase of 31 per cent. The prevented loss for cards stood at £475.7 million.

Remote purchase fraud increased by 31 per cent to £224.1 million between January and June, compared to £171.7 million in the same period of 2015. Intelligence suggests fraudsters are using card details obtained with malware and data breaches, while there are more opportunities to commit such crimes because of the growing number of e-commerce sites.

There was a slight increase in remote banking losses, up from £66.2 million in the first half of 2015, to £70.6 million, with a prevented loss of £103.2 million. Scams continue to drive remote banking fraud, with criminals tricking victims into handing over their money or banking details.

A full set of data has been released by FFA UK, which leads for the industry on tackling financial fraud and which last month launched Take Five, a national awareness campaign to combat fraud.

Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK, said: “Banks will continue to invest in advanced verification methods, including biometric validation and dynamic card security codes. We ask all consumers to be alert to scammers, which is why we recently launched the Take Five campaign.


FFA also urged all organisations holding personal and financial data to improve their security systems in order to prevent data breaches. Retailers selling remotely can also use a number of tools to build up a profile of their customer, verify the cardholder and ensure they receive payment securely.


Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, the FFA UK-sponsored police unit which investigates fraud, said: “Fraudsters can be very convincing and often pose as representatives from a trusted organisation in order to appear genuine.

“If you are asked to transfer some money or provide your personal details and you think it could be a scam, take five minutes to think about what you are being asked to do. A genuine organisation will not mind if you check who you are speaking to, because people are not always who they say they are.”

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