UK: Financial fraud soars

More than 1 million incidents of financial fraud – payment card, remote banking and cheque fraud – occurred in the first six months of 2016, according to official figures released by Financial Fraud Action UK.

To compare, in the first six months of 2015 there were a little over 660,000 cases.

uk financial fraud

“Banks and other financial service providers work hard to protect their customers, using highly sophisticated security systems. Last year, banks stopped £7 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening,” noted Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK.

“But as the banks’ systems get more advanced, fraudsters turn their attention elsewhere and sadly this often means tricking people out of their personal details and money.”

The 30 percent of fraud attempts that were successful in 2015 cost the nation a whooping £755 million. 75 percent of these losses were the result of payment card fraud, 22 percent of remote banking, and 3 percent of cheque fraud.

These numbers spurred the FFA UK, an organization that gathers the nation’s major banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card payment acquirers, to also mount a nation-wide awareness campaign named Take Five.

Take Five’s main message is that, when targeted with a possible scam, it pays to “stop and think”.

“Many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud – that no-one should ever ask them for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into making a decision. The trouble is, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget this,” the organization noted.

“If you receive a request to provide personal or financial information, you need to take a moment to reflect and step back from the situation. Yes, even if they say they’re the bank, police or other trusted organisation, you still need to take the time to stop and think about what’s really going on.”

The campaign is aimed both at individual users and businesses, and the material provided offers a good overview of the most often attempted scams and advice on how not to fall for them. And even though this is a campaign aimed at UK users, the information and advice is valid for individuals around the globe.

“It’s sad but unsurprising that payments fraud has grown significantly in the last year,” Rob Norris, Director Enterprise & Cyber Security EMEIA at Fujitsu, commented for Help Net Security.

“Cybercriminals have grown in their sophistication, exploiting the human interest factor by posing as banks or suppliers and then duping consumers into revealing their personal details. These scams have also proved effective in targeting commercial organisations, as senior executives are tricked into revealing sensitive information which enables access to a company network.”

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