Phone banking fraud losses have increased by 48% in the first half of 2011, compared to the same time period in 2010, figures from the UK Payments Association reveal. This represents a rise from £5.8 million to £8.6 million in total losses.
Cheque fraud losses are also on the up, increasing by 17% from £14 million to £16.4 million over the same time period.
The increase in phone banking and cheque fraud is due to criminals resorting to tried and tested methods of duping consumers, says detective chief inspector Paul Barnard, head of the police's dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit: "There has been an increase in old-fashioned scams - criminals using distraction techniques and social engineering methods to get hold of people's cards or phone banking details."
Be on your guard
Fraudsters purport to be a bank or even the police and then abuse this perceived position of responsibility to ask consumers for financial details, such as account numbers, PIN numbers and login details.
"We are urging everyone to be on their guard. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email you to ask for your login details, cards or pins," warns Barnard.
"If anyone does, they are probably a criminal, so hang up the phone or delete the email."
In contrast, online banking fraud losses have fallen by 32%, from £24.9 million in 2010 to £16.9 million between January and June 2011. Greater use of fraud detection technology, and the increased rollout of chip and PIN across the continent are given as the main factors for this drop.
Earlier this year, the National Fraud Authority announced all different types of fraud collectively cost the UK over £38 billion a year.
Stop the fraud alarm bells ringing:
1. Your bank or the police will never cold call you to ask for financial or personal details.
2. Login details should never be shared with anyone: you will only ever have to give specific characters from a password, rather than the whole thing – and only if you call up your bank.
3. Don't leave your chequebook out in the open – for example on your desk. Store it in a secure, locked place.
4. Fill in any blank space on the payee and amount lines of a cheque with a line.