Wednesday 22 September 2021 10:01 am

Rising UK fraud levels branded a 'national threat' by banks

Financial fraud rose by 30 per cent in the first half of 2021 resulting in losses of over £750m, according to the latest fraud report by banking trade body UK Finance, published this morning.

Authorised push payment fraud, where consumers were unwittingly scammed into approving a payment into a criminally-controlled account, increased 71 per cent during the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

Over £350m was lost to these types of fraud across over 100,000 cases.

Meanwhile there were almost 1.5m cases of unauthorised fraud which involves remote banking, cheques and payment cards. These resulted in losses of £398.6m, up seven per cent compared to the first half of 2020.

While the banking and finance industry prevented £736m worth of attempted unauthorised fraud, only half of the victims in authorised push payment fraud were refunded by banks.

The rising figures prompted the banking trade association to brand fraud in the UK as a “national security threat”.

Managing director of the economic crime unit at UK Finance, Katy Worobec called for “coordinated action and increased efforts from government and other sectors to tackle what is now a national security threat.”

Worobec argued that criminals are exploiting weaknesses “outside of banks’ control” despite, she said, the banking and financial industry investing billions in systems to prevent fraud.