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Fight against financial fraud sees losses fall

Fight against financial fraud sees losses fall

Financial fraud losses totalled £366.4m in the first half of 2017 but this was 8 per cent lower year-on-year, according to figures from UK Finance.

The data, which covers payment cards, remote banking and cheques, also showed the industry prevented more than £750m of fraud in the same period, or 67 per cent of attempted fraud.

This compares with £400.4m of losses and £678.7m of prevented fraud in the first half of 2016.

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The new data comes as the banking industry and government launch the next phase of Take Five to Stop Fraud, a national campaign offering advice to help customers protect themselves from fraud.

Katy Worobec, head of fraud and financial crime prevention, cyber and data sharing at UK Finance, said: “Tackling fraud is a top priority for the entire industry. But financial fraud is not just an issue for the banking sector – its harmful effects stretch far and wide.

“This is why when it comes to prevention, protection or deterrents the industry is committed to taking a collaborative approach to curb these crimes and is launching the latest Take Five consumer campaign.

“Whether it’s banks refining their own security systems or a retailer holding customer data securely, everyone has a part to play.”

The data for January to June 2017 also showed there were 937,518 cases of financial fraud, similar to the same period the year before.

Card fraud was the single biggest type of fraud but losses were down 11 per cent on the same period the year before – to £287.3m.

Card spending increased by 8.4 per cent year-on-year over the six-month period, meaning card fraud as a proportion of spending equates to 7.5p for every £100 spent, down from 8.7p in the first half of 2016.

Criminals are increasingly using sophisticated impersonation scams to trick customers into giving away their personal or security data, UK Finance said.

In these scams fraudsters contact customers by phone, email or text pretending to represent a trusted organisation asking for information.

Often the fraudster will claim there has been suspicious activity on an account, account details need to be “updated” or “verified”, or a refund is due.

The finance industry has responded by working with law enforcement, investing in the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, sponsoring a dedicated police unit and updating their processes.

Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit which is sponsored by the industry, said: “Fraudsters will do all they can to appear like the real deal, so always be on your guard for any calls, texts or emails out of the blue asking for your details.

“They may even be able to quote some basic information about you.”

damian.fantato@ft.com