One in seven Brits has committed fraud - and many don't even realise

18 July 2019

'Fronting’ - when someone takes out car insurance under someone else's name for a cheaper quote - is the most common type of fraud committed in the UK

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New figures have revealed that an increasing number of British adults are committing fraud, with many of them unaware they are even breaking the law.

One in seven people has committed fraud, while two in three know someone who has, according to fraud prevention service Cifas.

Cifas estimates that fraud is costing the UK economy around £190 billion a year.

It found that ‘fronting’ - when someone takes out car insurance under someone else's name for a cheaper quote - is the most common type of fraud committed in the UK.

This type of fraud could see individuals driving without valid insurance, and in some cases, result in a criminal record.

Most worryingly, fronting is seen as reasonable by two out of five people.

The second most common fraud is ‘de-shopping’ – where people buy items of clothing with the intention of wearing them briefly before returning for a full refund.

It is followed by ‘money muling’, which is considered reasonable by one in five (22%) Brits. This is where the account holder agrees to transfer illegal funds to a third-party from their bank account, generally keeping a share for themselves.

Another common fraud is ‘claimed non-delivery’ – where people order goods online and falsely claim they haven’t been delivered to get a refund.

The research, which questioned over 2,000 people, also revealed that younger people were more likely to take part in fraudulent activity, with 21% of 18 to 34 year-olds admitting they have committed first-party fraud, compared to only 6% of people aged over 65.

Chief executive of Cifas, Mike Haley, says: ‘It’s sad to note how common fraud is among the British population, and that even more people find such acts of dishonesty acceptable.

“Many people seem unaware that what they consider to be reasonable, such as buying shoes to wear for a night before returning them, or adding their parent as a main driver for cheaper insurance, can be considered acts of fraud. 

“We wanted to raise awareness of the consequences what can be considered everyday fraud, such as finding it difficult to obtain a financial product or a mobile phone account, and in some cases such as being a money mule, end up with a criminal record.”

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