Over £500m stolen by fraudsters in 2018

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By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

10 December 2018

New figures have revealed that security measures and intervention by the finance industry have prevented two-thirds of attempted unauthorised fraud. However, scammers still made off with £503.4m in the first half of 2018.

The report comes from UK Finance and revealed that 'purchase scams' have taken the most money from fraud victims between January and June this year, totalling a lost value of £19.4m.

'Purchase scams', which involve advance payments for non-existent products or services, are part of the Authorised Push Payment (APP) category of fraud. These are cases in which the victim has authorised the payment due to being deliberately misled. Unauthorised fraud is generally the result of stolen data, bank cards, or identification.

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."

Six steps to stay safe

The period between November-January every year is a popular time for online transactions as consumers take advantage of extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, search the internet for gift ideas, and descend on New Year stock clearances.

Here are some simple tips for keeping your money and identity safe:

  1. Only give financial information (card details, account numbers etc.) to websites you know and trust.
  2. Ensure your online accounts have strong passwords and two-factor authentication if available.
  3. Consider using a third-party intermediary like PayPal that provides an extra level of security for transactions.
  4. If something seems suspicious, always check with the supposed source that the email, pop-up or request for information actually came from them.
  5. Never click links or submit web forms if you doubt their legitimacy. It is better to be sceptical than sorry.
  6. Should a payment be intercepted or be revealed as a scam, take immediate steps to inform your bank.

Our infographic explains the different types of fraud you may encounter and which scams prove most lucrative for the criminals involved.

How much are common scams worth? [Infographic]


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