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Criminals steal £500 million through fraud and scams in first half of 2018

25/09/2018 News Team

A total of £503.4 million was stolen by criminals through authorised and unauthorised fraud in the first six months of 2018, new data from UK Finance has found.

During the same period, the finance industry prevented £705.7 million of unauthorised fraud, equivalent to £2 in every £3 of attempted unauthorised fraud.

Newly-collected data, published for the first time, reveals that purchase scams were the most prevalent authorised push payment (APP) scam in the first half of 2018, accounting for almost two thirds of reported APP cases with a total of £19.4 million lost.

In these scams the victim pays in advance for a product or service, such as a car, electronics or a holiday rental, which is never received or does not exist. It often takes place online, through auction websites or social media.

There was a total of 3,866 reported cases of impersonation scams in the first six months of 2018. In these scams the criminal purports to be from the police, bank and other organisations and tricks the victim into transferring money, often claiming there has been fraud on the account. The nature of these scams means the victim is often persuaded to transfer a significant sum, with an average loss in a police and bank impersonation scam of £11,402 and in other impersonation scams of £7,504.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Fraud and scams pose a major threat to our country. The criminals behind it target their victims indiscriminately and the proceeds go on to fund terrorism, people smuggling and drug trafficking, whether or not the individual is refunded. Every part of society must help to stamp out this menace, especially by stopping the data breaches which increasingly are fuelling fraud.

“The finance industry is committed to fighting back, investing millions in security systems and cyber defences to protect customers. We have brought in new standards to ensure scam victims get the help they need from their payments provider; we are supporting law enforcement in disrupting the criminals and freezing stolen money; and we are assisting the government in improving intelligence sharing to extinguish the threat."

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