While the banking and finance industry prevented more than £1.8bn in fraud during 2019 in the UK, the amount lost through authorised push payments (APP) scams increased to £465m.
UK Finance’s latest report shows that the amount of capital lost through APP rose in 2019 from the £354m seen in 2018.
The research company believes APP fraud has increased due to a rise in using online platforms to trick victims. This includes investment scams advertised on social media and search engines, romance scams committed on dating apps and purchase scams promoted via auction websites.
Further to the APP losses, £824.8m was stolen by criminals through unauthorised card, remote banking and cheque fraud last year. This is down 2% from 2018.
Unauthorised fraudulent transactions are not approved by the account holder but through a third-party.
Losses occurred through remote banking fraud reached £150.7m in 2019, 1% less than 2018. The industry, which includes mobile banking, telephone banking and internet banking, was able to prevent £268.8m in fraud.
A total of £620.6m was lost through unauthorised transactions on payment cards. This was a drop of 8% on the previous year.
Finally, cheque fraud increased 161% in 2019 compared to the former year. Losses reached £53.6m and the rise was attributed to high-value transactions on counterfeit cheques targeting business accounts.
UK Finance managing director of economic crime Katy Worobec said, “The introduction of the voluntary Code last May has meant more victims of authorised push payment fraud are receiving compensation, particularly in cases involving higher value losses and more sophisticated scams.
“However, criminal gangs are continuing to exploit online platforms to target customers directly and trick them into handing over their money or information. This shows why fraud and other economic crime should be included within the new regulatory framework for online harms, to ensure all sectors play their part in tackling the threat posed by fraud to our society.
“Only by working in partnership with the public sector and other industries can we protect innocent victims and prevent money getting into the hands of criminals.”
Since the voluntary code was released last May, a total of £41m has been given to consumers in compensation for losses through scams. This accounts for 41%of total losses of those encountered at service providers signed up to the code, UK Finance claims
Before the code was released only around 19% of APP fraud were compensated.
UK Finance also warned consumers to be vigilant of criminals leveraging fears around coronavirus to scam people out of their money by posing as banks, police offices and other service providers.
“We would also urge the public to be vigilant against criminals using the publicity around the Coronavirus as a chance to target their victims with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or social media posts, Katy Worobec added.
“Always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information in case it’s a scam.”
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