People in the UK lost an incredible £1.2 billion to fraud in 2022 - equivalent of £2,300 every minute. This is according to the banking industry group UK Finance. The organisation says that around three million scams took place last year, with frauds involving payment cards being the most common.
UK Finance say that these losses were not always reimbursed and they have urged companies to "share the burden" of covering costs.
How bad is the problem?
Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with one in 15 people falling victim. But the overall figures are actually slightly better than previous years. According to UK Finance the amount of money stolen in 2022 was actually 8% less than in 2021, and fraud cases were down by 4% - but there were still nearly three million cases across the UK in total.
What is the most common fraud?
UK Finance say that the most common type of fraud is payment card fraud, followed by scams involving purchases. It also found that ‘romance fraud’ (where scammers pretend to be romantically interested in the victim to get money) increased in 2022.
However, ‘investment fraud’, where fraudsters offer a fraudulent investment opportunity, fell by a third - probably due to cost-of-living pressures meaning that people are investing less.
UK Finance boss David Postings said that drugs gangs, criminal groups abroad and "state-sponsored bad actors" were responsible for the majority of fraud.
What happens if you are a victim?
Banks are legally obliged to refund so-called ‘unauthorised’ fraud, but do not have to cover the costs of ‘authorised’ scams - where victims are tricked into agreeing to send money to fraudsters.
As a result, banks only refunded about 59% of the losses from this type of fraud on a voluntary basis, amounting to £285.6m of the £485.2m stolen.
David Postings, head of UK Finance said that many of the most common frauds started online and he has called on tech and telecoms companies to play a greater role in reimbursing lost funds. However, the tech industry organisation Tech UK said that technology firms "already take a wide range of active measures to prevent fraud".
What can we expect in the future?
In the future, Mr Postings said he was concerned that artificial intelligence (AI) would let scammers "spoof people even more than is already the case". He added that AI could be used to automate fraud and generate convincing scams to trick people.
The government recently published a new fraud strategy, which will includes allowing banks to delay payments from being processed for longer, to allow for suspicious payments to be investigated further.
The new government strategy will also include banning cold calls on all financial products, such as those relating to bogus insurance or sham crypto-currency schemes, to help stop scams at source.
Darren Bugg, Editor of The Customer
Service Blog, said: “The new government strategy is to be welcomed. However, I’d
like to see the government do a lot more to protect elderly and vulnerable
customers who are often not as ‘tech savvy’, and who are sometimes more
trusting of strangers that contact them out-of-the-blue by phone or email.”
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