The latest research from Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK shows that a financial scam was committed every 15 seconds in the first six months of 2016. More than one million cases of fraud were recorded between January and June—a 53% increase on the same time period last year.
The impact of fraudulent activity is having a negative effect on both consumers and the wider industry, with financial losses from fraud reaching £775 million last year—a 26% rise on the previous 12 months.
With smartphones now capable of acting as a digital wallet, more people are using mobile devices to manage their banking and make payments online. This has presented fraudsters and criminal gangs with a significant opportunity. Online banking fraud alone has increased by 23% during 2015, resulting in a 64% increase in losses to more than £130 million.
According to the recent British Crime Survey, fraud and cyber-crime account for nearly half of all recorded offences in the UK, with phone and text scams becoming even more common. Both telecommunications companies and consumers need to be increasingly aware of the different types of fraud that scammers are using and have the tools in place to monitor and prevent cases from occurring.
The latest research shows criminals are often using a diverse range of techniques to commit fraud. These include phishing, the installation of malware (malicious software) on a user’s device and social engineering to gain access personal information which is otherwise confidential.
Home Office Security Minister Ben Wallace, said: “The impact of financial fraud can be devastating on victims, with fraudsters using increasingly cunning and convincing tactics. They prey on people who are trying to get on with their lives but in a moment where they are busy or distracted become vulnerable.
“At the same time, the government is working closely with law enforcement and the banking sector through the Joint Fraud Taskforce to take action to stop the organised criminals behind financial fraud.”
With telecommunications companies, banks and the government working in partnership with organisations like FFA and Action Fraud, it is hoped that 2016 will see a reduction in the levels of fraud being perpetrated in the UK and an increase in protection for consumers.