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Fraudscape 2017

Published: 10 May 2017

With almost one in every two crimes a fraud or cybercrime*, individuals are more likely to be a victim of this crime than any other. There has never been a more urgent time for organisations to be alert to both the external and internal fraud threat.

Through Cifas, our members contributed over 325,000 cases of fraud to the national picture, the highest number ever recorded to our databases: the National Fraud Database and the Internal Fraud Database.

In this year’s Fraudscape report, for the first time ever, we have brought together frauds recorded by Cifas members to the National Fraud Database and the Internal Fraud Database into a single document: making Fraudscape the only publication of its kind providing this analysis of internal and external fraud trends in the UK.

In 2016, we saw:

  • 1.2% increase in overall fraud recorded to our databases;
  • Identity fraud reached the highest levels ever recorded with almost 173,000 cases reported by our member organisations;
  • Fraudsters continued to focus on online applications, with 88% of identity frauds being internet-enabled;
  • Facility takeover fraud has increased by a substantial 45%; 
  • Telephone facilitated takeovers have driven the increase: a key trend is fraudsters targeting mobile phone accounts in order to obtain upgrades; 
  • In bank account takeovers, telephone takeovers represent almost 50%;
  • Despite high volumes, identity frauds against bank accounts and telecoms products reduced in 2016;
  • An increase in ‘mule’ activity where genuine account holders are complicit in allowing criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts;
  • The most common internal fraud was simply staff stealing cash. 

By sharing these confirmed fraud attempts our members are taking positive steps in helping to build a more accurate picture of the frauds they are experiencing as well as preventing their customers from further fraud.

Fraud and cybercrime now rival car crime, robbery and burglary as the high volume crime of the twenty first century, and as such government, law enforcement, businesses and consumers must work together to combat this ever growing threat.

With a General Election on 8 June Cifas is asking that the next Government makes tackling fraud a priority. Read more about our manifesto asks for the General Election 2017.


Related Links

Press Release: Rise in Facility Takeovers Reveals Need for Better Fraud Education as Fraudsters Target Customers and Staff

Blog: Facility takeover fraud – telephone is the channel of choice


* The Office of National Statistics (ONS) Crime Survey of England and Wales now estimates that fraud and cybercrime now account for almost six million offences.