A top executive at the UK’s financial watchdog has said the country’s cost-of-living crisis risks driving an uptick in financial crime.
In a speech at the Financial Crime Summit, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) executive director Sarah Pritchard said “we are already seeing more scams,” as she warned financial crime is set to become “even more prolific”.
She pointed to research showing more than seven-in-ten people say they have been targeted by scammers over the past three months, as she said con artists are increasingly “try to exploit” the UK’s cost of living crisis.
The said the FCA has seen an increase in scams on the back of soaring costs, including “loan fee fraud, ghost broking, and false access to rebates from utility companies.”
The watchdog exec said the FCA now anticipates a further uptick in fraud as soaring costs tempt Brits into taking part in criminal activities.
“Sadly, we expect financial crime to become even more prolific during the cost-of-living crisis,” Pritchard said. “The temptation for people in difficult circumstances is huge.”
“We anticipate a potential rise in people being recruited to act as money mules too, where they are asked to transfer money through their accounts by strangers in exchange for a payment,” the FCA markets executive added.
Pritchard continued in calling for a “joined up action and joined up intelligence” in tackling the growing wave of financial crime.
“Fighting crime should never be left to one body or one team within an organisation,” Pritchard said.