Regulation  

Fraud activity rising 'inexorably'

Fraud activity rising 'inexorably'

A fraud prevention database has warned of an "inexorable" rise in fraudulent activity across the UK, saying young and elderly victims were being increasingly targeted. 

In data published today (June 18) Cifas, the not-for-profit membership group which shares data on fraud between private, public and third sectors, reported the number of victims aged under 21 increased by 26 per cent in 2018, compared with the previous year. 

The group reported the number of victims in the over-60s demographic increased by 34 per cent, as it issued a warning older people were increasingly targeted by fraudsters online.

Cifas claimed the elderly were more likely to be approved for credit with a growing online presence, contributing to more than 33,000 over-60s falling victim to identity fraud in 2018.

In data collated from more than 470 organisations, Cifas reported an overall increase of 6 per cent in cases of fraud recorded by its members last year when compared with 2017. 

Cifas also warned cases involving money mule activity were on the up, with a 26 per cent increase from 2017 and with a "steep incline" in those aged 40-60 years old becoming involved in the activity, at an increase of 35 per cent. 

Money mules are people who often unknowingly are used as money laundering intermediaries for criminals.

Mike Haley, chief executive of Cifas, warned fraudsters were "constantly" finding new methods of committing fraud.

He said: "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."  

Cifas sends almost 800 fraud cases to the City of London Police for investigation each day, with credit reporting company Experian previously reporting a new incident of financial fraud was reported every 15 seconds in the UK last year. 

Research out last week showed more than 5m British consumers have fallen victim to a financial scam at some point in their lives.

Despite this, 83 per cent of consumers felt confident they would be able to spot a financial scam and 77 per cent believed they were able to keep up with the potential risks of scams. The over 65s felt particularly confident about their ability to spot scams.

rachel.addison@ft.com 

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