Fraud rises 10% in a year
Almost 600,000 cases of fraud were referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau over the past year, a 9.4% increase, according to figures published today.
However, the true scale of fraud is likely to be much higher, as the NFIB only receives information on fraud where there is actionable intelligence on the crime. Separate figures from the British Crime Survey, also released today suggest millions of people are victims of fraud in the UK each year.
Over the past year the NFIB, part of the City of London Police, disrupted 4,000 websites, bank accounts and phone lines, and helped prevent fraud to the tune of £369 million.
The majority of fraud referred by the NFIB affected the bank and credit card industry. Over the year to June 2015, 328,656 cases of banking and credit industry fraud were referred, an annual increase of 9.5%.
Separate figures from Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), which include instances where there is no opportunity to investigate further, show an estimated 1.3 million instances of payment fraud in the last year. Over three-quarters of these crimes were remote purchases, either online, by phone or by mail order.
FFA UK recently claimed over two-thirds of fraud attempts using payments were blocked by the industry in the first half of 2015.
Katy Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, said: “Financial institutions take fraud very seriously and use a range of sophisticated security systems to protect their customers, stopping over two-thirds of fraud from occurring.
“Banks work closely with the police and government to tackle fraud both through enforcement action and educating members of the public on how they can best protect themselves. The banking industry fully sponsors a police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, which investigates, targets and prosecutes the organised criminal gangs responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes.
The NFIB figures also give weight to confirm fears that pensions deregulation would lead to greater instances of fraud, with 127% more referrals of pensions fraud. However, this accounts for just 0.2% of all cases that reach the NFIB.
Referrals of investment fraud were also found to have increased by 19%, while insurance fraud rose by 13%.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.