More than 1 million incidents of financial fraud occurred in the first six months of 2016, according to official figures released by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK). This is a 53 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, which means an incident happened in the UK every 15 seconds between January and June.
The figures are released as FFA UK and all major banks and key financial services providers across the UK come together for the first time to launch a national campaign to combat financial fraud.
The campaign – Take Five – aims to put consumers and businesses back in control with straight forward advice to help prevent financial fraud. It focuses on financial frauds directly targeting customers, such as email deception (known as phishing) and phone and text-based scams (sometimes known as vishing and smishing), and is designed to remind people that it pays to stop and think. It will also help protect people from criminals duping them into moving money into bank accounts controlled by the fraudsters.
New research reveals that 73 per cent of people claim they are aware of the methods fraudsters use, yet more than a quarter of people admit they still provide personal details to people claiming to be from their bank, even if they do not think they should! The most common reason given was because they felt the person seemed genuine while almost 40 per cent said it was because they felt pressured. Almost four in ten also said it was because they were busy and wanted to get them off the phone quickly.
A quarter of actual victims of financial fraud admitted the main reason was because the fraudster was extremely convincing and 37 per cent of victims thought they were being scammed during the conversation but still continued with the transaction and almost a quarter (23 per cent) only realised after the conversation had finished.
The Take Five campaign is asking consumers to help protect themselves from financial fraud by remembering some simple advice:
- Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details
- Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are
- Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think
- Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it
- Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information
It is worth noting that fraudsters often try to hide behind government agencies such as HMRC and the US IRS. We have recently seen an example of an e-mail communication from a fraudster, purportedly from the IRS, who asked for an official form (a W8-BEN) to be filled in which included private and confidential information. We were able to advise our client that this was a known scam which had been flagged on the official IRS website.
Further information about the campaign in general can be found on the Take Five website: http://www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/