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Cifas warns shoppers to be black Friday fraud savvy as telecoms fraud soars

26 November 2020
  • Criminals expected to take advantage of surge in online shopping
  • Cifas data shows identity fraud on telecom products has risen a fifth over last twelve months

As consumers prepare for one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning shoppers of the dangers of online fraud.

With a large proportion of the UK still in lockdown, online sales are expected to soar this Black Friday as shoppers look for bargains on the ‘virtual high street’. However Cifas is warning consumers to be extra vigilant of fraud as data reveals a 19% increase in cases of identity fraud on telecom products filed to the National Fraud Database in 2020, when compared to the same period last year. In addition, facility takeover fraud – where a fraudster abuses personal data to hijack an existing account or product such as a bank account or phone contract – rose 20% in the same period.

Fraud has been steadily rising over the last five years, with 364,643 cases of fraudulent conduct filed on the National Fraud Database last year – the highest number ever recorded.

Technology played a key role in facilitating most of this fraudulent conduct, with 87% of identity fraud in 2019 occurring through online channels. Criminals mostly obtained the information they needed to commit fraud through smishing and phishing attacks, where victims are tricked into giving personal and financial information, and spoofed websites where a website is made to look like a well-known brand in order to obtain personal details. These details can then be used to obtain credit in forms such as credit cards, loans and mobile phone contracts in the name of the victim.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence at Cifas, said: ‘Criminals will do everything they can to take advantage of the large number of people expected to look for bargains online on Black Friday. From fake social media posts to spoofed websites, fraudsters have a wide range of sophisticated ways to make people believe that they are interacting with a trusted, legitimate company or person.

‘My advice to consumers is to be vigilant when buying online, and make sure you check the product is being sold by a reputable source. Never feel rushed or pressured into a decision that you may later regret, and always use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites.’


For more information contact:
Matt Pearson
Press & Public Relations Manager, Cifas
T: :+44 (0)20 3004 3644

Notes to editors

Cifas have this week released a video ‘Stop the fraud Bonanza’ with Cifas’ Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence, and Sandra Peaston, Director of Research and Development, advising retailers on how they can protect themselves and their customers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year. The video can be viewed here.

The full data from the Cifas National Fraud Database is available on our Fraudscape website.

For more information on Money Mules and advice visit the Don’t Be Fooled website here.

Together with PSHE Association, the national body for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, Cifas has created four Anti-Fraud Education lesson plans with accompanying resources. The lesson plans are targeted at 11-16 year olds and cover Key Stage 3 and 4. Click here for more information.

For more advice on preventing fraud visit the Take Five website.

About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2019, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.5 billion of fraud losses.

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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