Mark Battersby, 26 March 2021
Investment scam reports surged by almost a third (32%) during 2020, with losses to these scams increasing 42% to £135.1m, according to a report by trade body UK Finance.
So called ‘authorised’ fraud losses increased 5% in 2020 to £479m as scammers ramped up online activity during the pandemic, its latest Fraud the Facts report stated. Unauthorised fraud losses dropped 5% as lockdown restrictions forced criminals to switch tactics, but were still very high at £784m, the latest Fraud the Facts report also revealed.
It cannot be right that online firms are effectively profiting from fraud, while society as a whole pays the price.”
Impersonation scam cases almost doubled to nearly 40,000 cases during the year.
The shocking figures show why tackling scam activity, particularly online, needs to be prioritised across Government, UK Finance argued in the report.
UK Finance is specifically calling for fraud to be included in the scope of the government’s Online Safety Bill to better protect consumers from these scams.
This would ensure that online platforms such as social media firms, search engines and dating websites take action to address vulnerabilities in their systems that are being exploited by criminals to commit fraud.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “The banking industry has worked hard throughout the pandemic to protect customers from fraud and to go after the criminals behind it, with over £1.6 billion of fraud stopped in 2020.