Banking industry stops £1.8bn in fraud during 2019

The banking and finance industry stopped over £1.8bn of fraud in 2019, up 9% on the previous year, new data published by UK Finance revealed.

The figures showed unauthorised fraud losses fell by 2% against the previous year, to £825m, while authorised push payment (APP) fraud losses rose to £456m in 2019, which UK Finance suggested was driven in part by criminals abusing online platforms to scam their victims.

UK Finance has called for a “cross-sector approach” to tackling fraud alongside legislation to combat the abuse of online platforms by criminals, adding that victims have received £41m in compensation in cases assessed under the APP voluntary Code introduced in May 2019 – accounting for 41% of the total losses in these cases.

UK Finance managing director of economic crime, Katy Worobec, commented: “The banking and finance industry is taking action on all fronts to protect its customers from fraud and crack down on the criminal gangs responsible.

“The introduction of the voluntary Code last May has meant more victims of APP fraud are receiving compensation, particularly in cases involving higher value losses and more sophisticated scams.

“However, criminal gangs are continuing to exploit online platforms to target customers directly and trick them into handing over their money or information. This shows why fraud and other economic crime should be included within the new regulatory framework for online harms, to ensure all sectors play their part in tackling the threat posed by fraud to our society.”

UK Finance has also urged customers to be aware of criminals exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud, and to always follow the advice of the “Take Five to Stop Fraud” campaign.

Take Five is a national campaign offering impartial advice that helps to prevent email, phone-based and online fraud – particularly in cases where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

“Only by working in partnership with the public sector and other industries can we protect innocent victims and prevent money getting into the hands of criminals,” Worobec added.

“We would also urge the public to be vigilant against criminals using the publicity around the coronavirus as a chance to target their victims with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or social media posts.

“Always follow the advice of the Take Five campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information in case it’s a scam.”

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