Total fraud losses climb 30% in 2021

A total £753.9m was stolen through fraud in the first half of 2021, representing an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year, according to new UK Finance figures.

The banking body stated that this year has so far seen criminals focus their activity on authorised push payment (APP) fraud.

Using tactics such as scam phone calls, text messages and emails, as well as fake websites and social media posts, APP fraud sees criminals seeking to trick people into handing over personal details and passwords. This information is then used to target victims and convince them to authorise payments.

UK Finance revealed that for the first time, the amount of money stolen through APP fraud overtook card fraud losses. Figures showed that APP fraud losses in the first half of the year climbed by 71% on last year, to total £355.3m.

However, the banking and finance industry has also prevented a further £736m of attempted unauthorised fraud over the first six months of 2021, meaning that £6.49 in every £10 of attempted unauthorised fraud was blocked.

UK Finance managing director of economic crime, Katy Worobec, commented: “Our latest figures show the sheer scale of fraud taking place in the UK and highlight clearly the need for coordinated action to address this threat.

“The banking and finance industry invests billions in advanced systems to try and stop fraud happening in the first place, but criminals are exploiting weaknesses outside of banks’ control to trick customers into making payments directly to them.

“This is why we are calling for coordinated action and increased efforts from government and other sectors to tackle what is now a national security threat.

“Criminals continue to target customers with a variety of scams, often via online platforms, and it is only through coordinated action that we will be able to really make progress in addressing the problem.”

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