In 2021 victims of fraudulent crime in the United Kingdom lost £1.3bn as a surge in online fraud skyrocketed amid the wake of Covid19. £583.2m was lost to APP fraud with a 39% increase compared to the previous year, moreover, there were a total of 195,996 incidents of APP fraud in 2021, a number that has risen by 27% compared to the previous year.
These scams are masterminded by individuals who impersonate organisations or reliable sources such as the NHS and government organisations through means of telephone or email. Across the picture, all types of APP fraud had risen with special reference to investment scams which attained a 57% jump, and romance scams, where the scammer will befriend the victim and ask for money, which rose by 73% in 2021. Data breaches are one of the main enablers of fraud as individuals' personal data is collected and used to trick the victim into trusting the fraudulent accounts.
There are several reasons why the soar in APP fraud has been so tremendous, one is the Covid19 pandemic. With more of us spending longer time at home due to working from home or restrictions, our online presence escalates. Britain is currently leading the world with the prevalence of fraud causes within the population, and the country is experiencing an epidemic of fraud. This year alone, 40 million adults in the UK have been targeted by scammers, and in 2020-2021 fraud accounted for 39% of all crimes, according to the Office for National Statistics.
More worryingly, the pre-existing stereotypes of who fraudster target have been dismissed in recent years. More commonly, analysts are seeing an increase in the variety of demographics targeted by fraudsters. Interestingly, younger generations are more likely to be targeted by fraudsters rather than older generations due to their active presence online.
Fraudulent activity in the United Kingdom is a prevalent problem, and there have been initiatives launched to help combat this issue, but the main problem lies within insufficient policing of the issues. In 2021, only 1753 officers focused on economic crimes, which is only 0.8% of the entire police force.
There is hope for this situation, however, the Banking Protocol allows widespread training of bank staff to spot potentially fraudulent activity and attempt to prevent the suspected victim from withdrawing cash from their accounts. This scheme proved to be effective, as it successfully stopped £38 million worth of losses to fraudulent crimes in 2018, with that number expected to continue to increase.
However, like anything, the most effective way to fight against the spike in fraudulent activity is education on the matter. If people are aware of the warning signs that occur and the red flags that fraudsters will exhibit, more people will not fall so easily at their whim. Being aware of questions your bank will and will not ask you alongside secure cyber security and robust passwords are the most effective way of keeping your information secure from fraudsters.
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