More than 1 million incidents of financial fraud were reported in the first six months of 2016, according to the latest figures published by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA).
This is a 53% increase in the number of incidents reported in the same period in 2015, when just over 660,000 cases were reported.
The figures mean an incident of financial fraud occurred every 15 seconds between January and June.
Financial fraud losses totalled £755 million in 2015, which represents a 26% rise in 12 months.
But despite research by the FFA revealing that almost three quarters (73%) of people claim they are aware of the methods fraudsters use, more than a quarter (26%) admit they still provide personal details to people claiming to be from their bank even if they do not think they should.
Katy Worobec, director of FFA, says: “Last year, banks stopped £7 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening. But as the banks’ systems get more advanced, fraudsters turn their attention elsewhere and sadly this often means tricking people out of their personal details and money.”
The most common reason for respondents sharing their details was because they felt the person seemed genuine (43%), while almost four in ten (39%) said it was because they felt pressured. A further four in ten (38%) said it was because they were busy/in the middle of something and wanted to get them off the phone quickly.
Protect yourself from fraudsters
As a result of this increase in fraud, the FFA, along with the major banks and key financial services providers across the UK, have come together for the first time to launch a national campaign to combat financial fraud.
The campaign – ‘Take Five’ – aims to put consumers and businesses back in control with straight forward advice to help prevent financial fraud. It focuses on financial frauds directly targeting customers, such as email deception (known as phishing) and phone and text-based scams (sometimes known as vishing and smishing), and is designed to remind people that it pays to stop and think.
It’s five top tips are to:
1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password - a genuine bank or organisation will never ask you for these in an email, on the phone, or in writing.
2. Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are.
3. Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot, and they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons.
4. Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it.
5. Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.
Backing the campaign, Home Office Security Minister, Ben Wallace, says: “The message of the Take Five campaign is don’t be hurried or hustled, take a moment before you give out any personal information. 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.”
See takefive-stopfraud.org.uk for more information about the campaign.
If you think there has been fraud on your card or bank account – or if you suspect anyone has attempted to compromise your financial details – report it immediately to your bank or financial services provider and then contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via www.actionfraud.police.uk.