Scams  

Almost all investment push scams originate online

Almost all investment push scams originate online
 Credit: Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Most investment scams relating to authorised push payment (APP) fraud originated online, UK Finance has found.

Analysis of nearly 7,000 APP scam cases by the industry body found the majority (96 per cent) of investment scams - where criminals convinced victims to move money to a fictitious fund or to pay for a fake investment - originated online.

About one in 25 APP investment scams (4 per cent) originated via phone or text.

Impersonation scams, where criminals contacted victims purporting to be from a trusted organisation such as the police, or the victim’s bank to convince them to make a payment to an account they control, were the only type of APP scam solely initiated via phone or text.

The industry body said this highlighted the internet’s “significant” role in enabling fraud.

David Postings, chief executive at UK Finance, said: “As more of us have shifted online because of the pandemic, we've seen a spike in money mule activity and investment and purchase scams because criminals can target people directly in their homes across online platforms."

He added: “The banking and finance industry is continuing to tackle fraud on all fronts, but there is a limit to what we can do alone."

Earlier this month the government published the draft Online Safety Bill which included user-generated content on social media and dating apps, but not all economic crime.

The bill tackles fraudulent investment schemes posted by users on social media, but not the same scam when digitally advertised or set up through a cloned website.

The industry body argued the bill needed to include all economic crime to effectively tackle all online scams and stop fraudsters “capitalising from loopholes”.

Postings said: “We were pleased to hear that the upcoming Online Safety Bill will tackle some aspects of fraud, but it won’t protect people from fraudsters’ online adverts and cloned websites.

“We encourage government to include all economic crime within the bill when it is formally introduced. Not doing so leaves a large proportion of the public at high risk of being scammed online, because criminals are experts in adapting their tactics to exploit any loopholes.”

Money lost to APP scams totalled £479m last year, according to UK Finance.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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