Scam watch: Banks better at busting fraud, but consumers must not drop their guard

2 October 2017

Fraudsters are finding it harder to rip off banks and their customers according to the latest data from UK Finance, a new trade association representing the banking industry.

Total losses for card, remote banking and cheque fraud in the first half of 2017 were 8% lower than the same period in 2016, falling from £400.4 million to £366.4 million.

Banks were also better at preventing fraud, with two-thirds of attempts prevented, saving an estimated £750 million.

UK Finance says fraudsters typically use compromised personal and financial information to hack into customers’ accounts. This is often by online attacks using malware or data hacks or impersonation scams. This is where a fraudster contacts individuals directly by phone, email or text and pretends to be from their bank. They might claim there has been suspicious activity on the account and say account details need to be updated or verified.

New campaign launched to help protect consumers from fraud

The new research coincides with the launch of a fresh campaign from ‘Take 5 To Stop Fraud’ - an industry and government led initiative to help consumers protect themselves.

Its latest mission is to encourage members of the public to remember the saying; “My Money, My Info, I don’t think so,” to help them spot scams and challenge requests for personal or financial details.

Commenting on the campaign, Ben Wallace, security minister says: “Any signal that fewer people are falling victim to financial fraud is very good news. However, we know that fraud remains a widespread problem and there is more to be done to prevent criminals from ruthlessly targeting people and businesses for their hard-earned money.  

“The Joint Fraud Taskforce sees government, law enforcement and industry working together to tackle some of the toughest fraud issues in order to protect the public. The national Take Five campaign will raise further awareness of how people can take simple steps to protect themselves against scams.”

‘Always be on guard for calls, texts or emails out of the blue’

The Take Five campaign says consumers can protect themselves by following these simple steps:

  • Remember your bank will never ask you for a PIN, full password, or to transfer money into another account.
  • Never give out personal information. Contact your bank directly using a known email or phone number.
  • Don’t be tricked by fraudsters – never click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  • Always question or challenge uninvited approaches.

Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the dedicated card and payment crime unit adds: “Fraudsters will do all they can to appear like the real deal, so always be on your guard for any calls, texts or emails out of the blue asking for your details. They may even be able to quote some basic information about you. Stop and think before you give away any information and if you are the slightest bit unsure then hang up and don’t reply. Instead contact the organisation directly on a number you trust, such as the one on their official website.”

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