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Is it okay to commit fraud?

15 December 2021
  • 1 in 13 Brits admit to committing at least one form of first-party fraud in the last year, with those 16-34 the most likely to do so;
  • Cases of fraudulent conduct by first-parties recorded to the National Fraud Database increased by 18% in first nine months of 2021;
  • Types of fraudulent conduct viewed as most ‘reasonable’ by customers were selling a financed vehicle, money muling and submitting a false insurance claim.

Latest research by Cifas reveals 1 in 13 UK adults have been involved in fraudulent conduct during the last year. Those aged between 16-34 were most likely to be involved, with more than 1 in 7 admitting to participating in being involved in at least one form of first-party fraud.

The types of first-party fraud seen as the most ‘reasonable’ thing to do by respondents were selling a vehicle that was subject to a finance agreement (22.9%), money muling (16.6%) and submitting a false insurance claim (10.3%). These scenarios were also the least likely to be associated with being illegal.

Data from the National Fraud Database during the first nine months of 2021 reveal an 18% increase in cases of fraudulent conduct by first-parties, compared to the same period in 2020. The most common forms of this were the misuse of bank accounts, with almost 56,000 cases, or more than 7 in 10 instances of first-party fraudulent conduct.

Cifas’ Head of Fraud Intelligence, Amber Burridge, said, ‘The findings reveal a continued attitude of fraud being a victimless crime. Committing what may be seen to be ‘everyday’ fraud impacts all our daily finances, such as through higher insurance premiums, increased delivery fees and bigger council tax bills. It’s vital we all recognise the consequences of committing fraud and aren’t tempted into doing it.

‘Research by RUSI has proven the link between fraud and organised crime, and we know criminals will often attempt to convince those they recruit that what they’re doing is harmless. A common example of this is money muling, whereby individuals are asked to receive money into their bank account and forward the funds on to another account, keeping a proportion for themself. In fact, this money has likely come from someone who has been scammed and criminals are trying to mask the money in order to fund high harm crimes such as drug trafficking, people trafficking and terrorist financing.

‘If an opportunity to make money feels too good to be true, then it probably is. Always take time to do your research and consider the impacts of getting involved before doing so.’

Notes to Editor


The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults between 4 – 8 October 2021. The research outlined ten scenarios of an individual committing first-party fraud, asking respondents to respond anonymously as to how reasonable the actions of the individual were, whether they were acting illegally, and whether they, or someone they know, has committed the same actions in the last 12 months.

Data from National Fraud Database

Case Type

Jan - Sep 2020

Jan - Sep 2021

Asset conversion



False application



False insurance claim



Misuse of facility







About Cifas

Cifas is the UK’s fraud prevention service. We lead the fight against fraud by sharing data, intelligence and learning. The organisations that collaborate with us are drawn from all sectors, working together to stop fraud.

About Opinion Matters

Opinion Matters is an independent market research agency that create bespoke market research solutions for businesses, organisations, and agencies worldwide.  Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Further information 

For further information, please contact:

Matt Pearson, Press & PR Manager, Cifas
+44 (0)20 4551 7956

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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