Identity fraud has taken the questionable crown of the worst type of fraud in the UK today.
The list, published today and compiled by Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at University of Portsmouth and Privilege Home Insurance, ranks fraud affecting individuals based on; the percentage of people subject to an attack, the average value of losses, the number of cases, and the number of times the fraud has been talked about online.
Identity fraud – where personal information is used fraudulently to, for example, take out a loan in somebody else's name – took top spot on the list, scoring 49 out of a possible 60 points.
Investment fraud, including boiler room scams and ponzi schemes, came in second place with 43.5, and lottery fraud, where people are conned into shelling out fees for nonexistent prize money, came in third place at 42.5.
Meanwhile, pension frauds, such as offering to free up pension funds for those aged under 55, came in ninth place with a score of 23. However, the researchers warn these scams could quickly climb the rankings as wrongdoers start to exploit the recently introduced pensions freedoms.
The pension freedoms came into force in April 2015 and allow those aged over 55 to dip into their pension pot without first purchasing an annuity.
"Frauds are never static, and seasonal changes, government reforms and awareness campaigns are likely to change the status," said Professor Mark Button, director and founder of the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth. "The government changes in pensions are likely to make frauds orientated around pensions a growing problem in the future and clearly there is priority to raise awareness here, along with other preventative and law enforcement action.
“The top fraud, identity fraud, however, is unlikely to abate and members of the public should monitor their bank accounts and be careful of how they handle and reveal personal information."
Dan Simson, head of Privilege Home Insurance, added:
This report highlights the sheer magnitude of ways we could all easily be subject to fraud, and what the most serious frauds are in terms of real-life impact.
While it is not possible to insure our homes and families beyond physical possessions, we hope that raising awareness of the scale of fraud in the UK, will encourage us all to think twice when doing seemingly simple things, such as sharing personal details.