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Fraudscape: Cifas report examines fraud in 2012


Cifas – the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, today releases Fraudscape: a 58-page report that analyses the frauds recorded by the 270 cross-sector Cifas Members during 2012. Divided into several easy-to-read sections, Fraudscape gives an overview, and then examines identity related crime (frauds related to the misuse and hijack of an innocent party’s identity details), geography, first party fraud (frauds committed by the genuine account holder) and fraud in terms of the products targeted.

Click here to download a copy of Fraudscape. An interactive contents page will help you to pinpoint sections of particular interest.

New fraud ‘highs’ reveal many things

2012 saw more frauds (248,325) recorded by Cifas Members than in any previous year (a 5% increase from 2011) with identity related crimes accounting for nearly two-thirds (65%) of all fraud confirmed in 2012.

A full breakdown, geographical analysis, maps, case studies, definitions, explanations, analysis and statistics can be found within Fraudscape with some of the headline revelations including:

  • Identity related crimes – frauds where the criminals perpetrating them misuse the personal data of victims – are now the main fraud drivers in the UK.
  • 80% of all identity related crime was perpetrated online: confirming the importance of the internet to the modern fraudster.
  • Frauds carried out by the genuine account holder fell in 2012 compared with 2011, but the fraudulent misuse of an account was still the second most common type of fraud to have been recorded (18.5% of all frauds) with many of these carrying all the hallmarks of ‘money mule’ schemes.
  • Geographical analysis conducted with Ordnance Survey has revealed that the long held belief that those living in flats are more likely to fall victim to Identity Fraud is not true: other factors will be more important.
  • Geographically, Victims of Impersonation are still most likely to be found in large urban areas, while those who have been Victims of an Account Takeover are far more spread out. However, hotspots of fraudulent activity have also been identified in the Gosport/Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Peterborough and Manchester regions during 2012, together with Dover and the Malvern Hills.
  • Bank, credit card and mail order accounts remained the products most frequently targeted by fraudsters, though the ever expanding range of products means that fraud against bank accounts decreased in 2012 while fraud against loans and credit cards notably increased.

Explaining the fraud landscape

Cifas Communications Manager, Richard Hurley, comments: “Fraud is a complex subject, affected by a wide range of factors, and the variations recorded during 2012 are proof of that. The role of organised crime (and what this actually means), consumer awareness, the economic situation in the UK, changing business practices and the rapid development of digital technologies are just a few of the influencing factors, and Fraudscape examines each fraud pattern within the context of the society in which the frauds took place. In addition, we also examine what the identified trends mean for organisations, individuals, regions, business sectors, law enforcement and government: from signalling that security processes need to be refreshed, through to the acceptance that some fraud will still evade detection.

“The question of ‘whose responsibility is it to defeat fraud?’ looms large of course, as fraud remains a threat both to organisations and individuals. By examining the ways in which frauds are attempted, Cifas is able to cast light on the murky realities of the problem. This underlines the need for more public and private organisations to act responsibly and share data to prevent fraud before having to recover losses, together with greater moves made by individuals and law enforcement.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Cifas is the UK's Fraud Prevention Service with 270 Member organisations spread across banking, credit cards, asset finance, retail credit, mail order, insurance, investment management, telecommunications, factoring and share dealing and the public sector.  Members share information on identified frauds in the fight to prevent further fraud. Cifas is unique and was the first data sharing scheme of its type in the world. Other schemes modelled on Cifas have been set up in Southern Africa and Germany.

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