Cifas fraud figures show 6% increase

Cifas, the UK's largest cross-sector fraud sharing database, has revealed that its members have reported a six per cent overall annual increase in fraud cases.

The figures are based on 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018, from over 470 UK organisations across sectors, with identity fraud reaching record highs and plastic cards taking the brunt of the blame.

Identity fraud significantly increased in 2018, with 189,108 cases recorded, making for an eight per cent increase on 2017’s figures. Plastic cards were hit the hardest, with 82,608 reports of fraud, up 41 per cent from 2017.

Cifas reported increases in identity fraud across all age groups, but particularly the young and old.

Victims aged 21 and under rose 26 per cent, while the over-60s saw a 34 per cent increase on the previous year. As older people are more likely to be approved for credit and their online presence grows, fraudsters are increasingly targeting them online: in 2018 more than 33,000 over-60s were the victim of identity fraud.

Cases which are indicative of ‘money mule’ (people who allow their accounts to be used for money laundering) activity were up across the board, with a 26 per cent increase from 2017, with Cifas reporting a steep incline in those aged 40 to 60 becoming involved in such activity, increasing 35 per cent.

Cifas chief executive Mike Haley commented: “From identity theft through to using the young and naïve as money mules to launder money, the economic and social harm to the nation is growing.

“The only way to fight the threat is to combine communication and collaboration, working together to present a united front against the perpetrators,” he added.

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