Fraud in UK to level where it “poses a threat to national security” | Scams
Fraud in the UK has reached a level where it poses a ‘threat to national security’, according to the main banking organization, with £ 754million stolen from bank customers in the first half of this year – an increase by 30% compared to the same period in 2020.
UK Finance said fraudsters capitalized on the coronavirus pandemic, with criminals targeting children as young as 14 through social media to become money mules.
Losses from wire transfer scams jumped 71% to £ 355million in the first half of the year, or nearly £ 2million a day. There were a total of 106,164 cases of fraud, which equates to 12 people swindled every half hour.
There had also been a noticeable increase in the use of cryptocurrency wallets to quickly move stolen money out of the banking system.
Consumer associations say banks often mistakenly try to blame their customers for fraud. However, UK Finance said much of the criminal activity takes place outside the banking system and called on big tech companies to do more to crack down on fraud on their platforms.
The consumer organization Which one? called the sums lost during the pandemic “staggering”.
In previous years, the biggest losses were in the use of debit and credit cards to commit fraud, but this year scammers have focused their activity on authorized push payment fraud.
This often involves hacking email accounts in order to trick individuals and businesses into sending money to bank accounts run by criminals posing as real customers.
Sometimes these are people buying property or having construction done and therefore having to make a large payment, although there are also many cases where criminals pose as delivery companies. people looking for romance or investment firms.
Identity theft scams – where criminals took hold of people’s fears about the pandemic and pretended to belong to trusted organizations such as the NHS or government departments in order to send texts and emails fraudulent – increased 123% in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Losses from investment scams, meanwhile, rose 95% as criminals exploited the low-interest environment to post high-yield social media ads.
“We have also seen changes in the way criminals transfer stolen money,” UK Finance said. “They have targeted people as young as 14 through social media platforms to become money mules, where their bank accounts are used to launder stolen money.”
He went on to say that “fraud is now at a level where it poses a threat to national security”. UK Finance is demanding coordinated government action across sectors to tackle the problem, including ensuring that all economic crimes are included within the scope of the Online Safety Bill.
Who? said most of the money lost by victims of wire transfer scams is still not refunded. “This shameful situation raises serious questions about the response of the payments regulator and the behavior of banks which too often wrongly try to blame their customers,” he added.