Annual UK Fraud Audit Reveals Scam Hot-Spots

Justin Freeman

Annual UK Fraud Audit Reveals Scam Hot-Spots

  • The UK Finance annual fraud report reveals almost three million scams occurred in the UK in 2022.
  • Fraud has become the most common crime in the UK, with one in 15 people becoming victims.
  • Tech firms are encouraged to “share the burden.”

People in the UK, on average, lost £2,300 to fraud every minute of last year, according to the recently released UK Finance annual report on fraud in 2022. It makes grim reading for those who are victims of scams or fearful of how prevalent they are becoming and the risks they pose.

UK citizens lost £1.2bn to fraud in 2022

The UK Finance annual fraud report breaks down the main perpetrators to be drug gangs, criminal groups abroad, and “state-sponsored bad actors.” It reveals the extent to which the scam operations are professionally run operations. It states:

“Criminals continue to focus on methods to try and trick consumers into handing over account details, or personal information that can be used to defraud them of their funds. They typically employ a range of techniques to trick victims into allowing them to access personal and financial information, such as their internet banking one-time passcodes and log in details, that can be used to steal from consumers.”

Source: UK Finance

‘Social Engineering’ was identified as being a growth area for scammers. The process, which involves fraudsters grooming and manipulating unsuspecting victims into sharing confidential details or wiring funds, accounted for the majority of losses in 2022.

Those who fall for scams are categorised as victims of “unauthorised” or “authorised” fraud. Victims of the former have a stronger claim for compensation from their banks and financial agents, but only 59% of funds relating to reported authorised fraud were returned to victims. That left a £199.6m black hole in the finances of regular citizens.

The scams to watch out for in 2023

There was some good, or at least less bad news, for investors. The £1.2bn total amount of fraud recorded was 8% lower than in 2021. However, that reflects the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on family budgets rather than a long-term trend reversal. With less spare cash available for speculative investments, banks and financial institutions have some time to fortify their campaign against scammers.

Details in the UK Finance report confirm the organisation is engaging with the government on its new fraud strategy and is sharing intelligence with the National Economic Crime Centre. The biggest threat does still need to be addressed. Big online operators such as social media giants and telecoms firms were once again encouraged to “share the burden” of covering costs. David Postings, head of UK Finance, highlighted that most scams still start online.

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Justin Freeman

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