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Fraud cases set to soar amidst cost of living crisis as criminals bet on economic uncertainty

13 July 2022
  • Latest Cifas data shows that levels of fraudulent conduct increased by over 11% in first half of 2022.
  • Consumers increasingly targeted by phishing emails offering energy saving deals, fuel vouchers, fake jobs and money-making opportunities.
  • Businesses also at risk with fraud carried out by staff up by over half when compared to 2021.
  • Cifas is warning that consumers and businesses face a growing risk of identity fraud as criminals prepare to target consumers during the cost of living crisis.

The warning comes as 200,000 cases of fraudulent conduct were filed to the National Fraud Database in the first six months of 2022 – a rise of 11% when compared to the previous year.   

As revealed in Cifas’ Fraudscape report today a large part of that rise has been soaring levels of identity fraud, with over 136,600 cases recorded in 2022 - up a third  on last year. Although the main sectors targeted were plastic cards and bank accounts, there was a significant rise in telecom products being targeted.

The rise in the cost of living is providing criminals with new opportunities to steal personal and financial information. Already Cifas is seeing a rise in consumers being targeted by phishing emails purporting to be from utility companies claiming to provide savings on energy bills, as well as offering fuel vouchers, fake jobs and money-making opportunities. These emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated as are the links which are designed to harvest personal and financial information. 

Investment scams and ‘get rich quick’ offers are also on the rise and are designed to tempt consumers looking for ways to supplement their income.

Cifas has also seen reports of cyber attacks where victims are encouraged to share their computer screen using remote access desktop services, allowing criminals to steal information which will be used to apply for products and services in their name.

As a result of the economic crisis, an increasing number of businesses are now expanding into the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ space, meaning fraudsters are now looking for ways to exploit and take advantage of any vulnerabilities within their processes.

Fraud carried out by staff against their employer was also on the rise, with figures from the Cifas Internal Fraud Database showing cases up by almost half when compared to the previous year. The majority of these cases relate to individuals working in contact centres, and these workers in particular have been targeted by criminals in order to gain access to accounts and processes. 

Mike Haley, Chief Executive of Cifas, said

‘Everyone is at risk of being targeted by fraudsters, but the current economic crisis is making consumers even more vulnerable to fraud.

‘On average, Cifas members file a case to the National Fraud Database every two minutes, with three in five of these cases relating to identity fraud. Now more than ever, consumers and businesses need to be vigilant against fraudulent attacks and protect their personal and financial details from being stolen by criminals.

‘If you are unsure whether something is a scam, trust your gut and take five to check with a friend.  Never let callers pressure you into sharing information that can later be used for fraud, and if in doubt then call the organisation back using the official details and number from their website.’

ENDS

Notes to editors

Cifas is reminding the public to take care of their personal details and to follow the advice of the Take Five campaign before responding to any request for details:

1.            Stop – taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your information or money could keep you safe

2.            Challenge – could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

3.            Protect – contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Any individual who has been tricked out of their personal details may wish to consider applying for a Cifas Protective Registration to protect themselves from the devastating impact identity fraud.

Interviews are available, please contact Ione Gyamfi, Press and PR Manager, ione.gyamfi@cifas.org.uk,  0204 551 7956

Fraudscape

Cifas’ Fraudscape 2022 report is available at: www.fraudscape.co.uk

Fraudscape is Cifas’ annual report which combines data from our National Fraud Database (NFD) and Internal Fraud Database (IFD), alongside intelligence provided by Cifas members, partners and law enforcement.

Alongside critical analysis of the figures, the report also features guest contributions from experts at Women in Identity, RiskScreen and Pindrop.

Identity Fraud

Definition of identity fraud - when a subject abuses personal data to impersonate an innocent party, or creates a fictitious identity (synthetic identity), to open a new account or obtain a product.

Full results by fraud type

Case Type

2021

2022

Change

Proportion 2022

Asset conversion

343

162

-53%

<1%

False application

8,003

12,366

55%

6%

False insurance claim

252

214

-15%

<1%

Facility takeover

22,180

15,537

-30%

8%

Identity fraud

102,883

136,646

33%

69%

Misuse of facility

45,443

33,292

-27%

17%

Grand Total

179,104

198,217

11%

100%

 

Identity fraud results breakdown

Age Range

2021

2022

Volume change

Percent Change

Proportion 2021

Proportion 2022

Under 21

1,087

1,532

445

41%

1%

1%

21-30

10,848

15,859

5,011

46%

12%

13%

31-40

17,639

24,164

6,525

37%

19%

20%

41-50

17,562

24,155

6,593

38%

19%

20%

51-60

21,401

26,226

4,825

23%

24%

22%

61+

22,157

27,181

5,024

23%

24%

23%

Grand Total

90,694

119,117

28,423

31%

100%

100%

 

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, operating in both the public and private sectors working together to stop fraud. A full list of our members can be found on our website.

Organisations that work with Cifas, contribute to and benefit from the UK’s largest databases of fraud risk data and intelligence. We are committed to the principle of collaboration, which connects and drives our community, and enables the sharing of:

Data
We enable the secure sharing of high quality, trusted data to fight fraud. Our databases are the most comprehensive and diverse sources of fraud risk data in the UK.

Intelligence
We provide research and dynamic intelligence that influences the threat picture and strengthens the response against fraud.

Learning
We are a leading provider of accredited education and trusted training.

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team
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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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