Scammers stole GBP 1.2 bln from British bank customers in 2018

Monday 25 March 2019 09:29 CET | News

Official data from UK Finance has revealed that scammers stole GBP 1.2 billion from UK bank customers in 2018 with a near-500% leap in counterfeit cheque fraud.

The headline fraud figure is up almost a quarter on 2017, when the total was GBP 968 million. There was a 50% leap, to GBP 354 million, in the amount lost to scams in which people are duped into authorising a payment to an account.

Last year saw a string of high-profile data breaches at household-name companies, and banking body UK Finance, which issued the data, said it believed that in cases where large amounts of customer data were stolen, businesses should contribute to a fund used to reimburse victims of scams

Data breaches involving “three significant brands” which occurred during 2018 were reported to have resulted in the attempted compromise of around 6.3 million payment card details, the body said. It did not name the companies, but they are understood to be Dixons Carphone, British Airways and Ticketmaster.

While the figures highlight how criminals are taking advantage of new technologies, they also indicate that old-fashioned frauds are surging in popularity among some scammers. The number of people writing cheques continues to fall, but cheque fraud losses jumped in 2018, hitting GBP 20.6 million more than double the 2017 figure of GBP 9.8 million, and the first rise in seven years.

A 486% increase in counterfeit cheque fraud accounted for most of the new total. However, UK Finance said the volume of cheque fraud increased by only 16%, indicating that a small number of high-value transactions led to the bigger losses in 2018.

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Keywords: UK Finance, banking, data breaches, cheque fraud
Countries: World

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