The UK suffered an incident of financial fraud ever 15 seconds in the first six months of the year, as the rise of scams to obtain passwords, bank details and cash shows no sign of abating.
Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA) found more than one million separate accounts of people handing over personal details between January and June - up 53 per cent compared to last year.
Scams include everything from phishing attempts to obtain passwords for online bank accounts and money transfer services, along with unsolicited phone calls and text messages from people claiming to be from a bank of utility company and seeking account and payment information.
Worryingly, FFA found 37 per cent of people who fell victim to financial fraud "thought they were being scammed during the conversation, but still continued with the transaction". Four in ten victims said they felt pressured during the phone call to act quickly, while 38 per cent said they did not pay proper attention to the person's credentials because they were trying to concentrate on something else when the fraudsters called them.
The FFA is using the findings to launch its new "Take Five" campaign, which encourages people to take five minutes when they receive an unsolicited call or email to "stop and think" about whether the person is genuine and, if needed, call the organisation they are purporting to be from using a number from their official website.
A separate report by insurance giant Lloyd's of London out yesterday, found a staggering 97 per cent of businesses say they have experienced a data breach in the last five years. Only 42 per cent thought they would fall victim again.