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1 in 8 UK adults admit to committing fraud in the last 12 months

29 November 2023

1 in 8 UK adults admit to committing fraud in the last 12 months


  • False CV qualifications, Single Person Discount and gaming chargeback fraud were the most ‘common’ types of first fraud amongst those surveyed

  • Most believe asset conversion on a car finance agreement is ‘not illegal’

  • Money muling also seen as a ‘reasonable’ fraud to commit

A survey carried out by Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has revealed that 1 in 8 (12%) UK adults have committed one or more first party frauds in the last 12 months – an increase from 10% in 2022 and 8% the year before.

The research was carried out between 7-19 September 2023 amongst 2,000 adults in the UK, who were each provided with scenarios involving common examples of first party fraud. Respondents were asked to rate how reasonable the actions of the individual were, if they thought these actions were illegal, and whether they, or someone they knew, had committed this type of fraud in the last 12 months. 

The results revealed that the most ‘common’ types of fraud were falsifying qualifications on their CVs (21%), claiming Single Person Discount on a council tax bill (21%) and reclaiming money on a lost bet – also known as gaming chargeback fraud – (21%).

When asked what types of fraud they thought were ‘reasonable’, nearly a quarter (24%) said selling a vehicle privately that was subject to a finance agreement – also known as asset conversion – alongside money muling (20%) and falsifying their CV (16%).

Asset conversion (34%) and money muling (22%) were also considered the least likely to be illegal, along with mobile insurance fraud (20%).

In terms of age groups, 25-34 year-olds were more likely to commit fraud with just over a quarter (26%) admitting to carrying out first party fraud over the last 12 months.

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘What might seem like a harmless act or lie can have long-lasting consequences for perpetrators, including having their bank account closed, being unable to access financial products and credit, difficulty in finding a job, and in some cases, a criminal record.

‘In the current cost-of-living crisis we recognise that some individuals may feel that they have no choice but to commit fraud if they want to pay bills or repay debts. Others might feel they are entitled to additional benefits or that their actions are somehow justified or become involved with organised crime gangs based on the promise of making extra money.

‘Regardless of the reason, it is imperative that the fraud prevention community collectively do more to educate consumers about the serious consequences of committing fraud. We need to change the public’s attitude to fraud so that it is no longer seen as acceptable, nor a victimless crime. Indeed, money muling, seen as ‘reasonable’ by a fifth of all respondents, is a key cog in the wheel of organised crime, facilitating the most insidious criminality including drug dealing, people trafficking and human slavery.

‘We welcome the opportunity for cross-sector collaboration so we can collectively drive forward more awareness to prevent first party fraud.’


Find out more about Cifas Fraud Behaviours data here




Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Hayley Paterson, Cifas Press and PR Manager, on 020 4551 7072 or

Survey methodology

The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Brits between 7-19 September 2023.

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 2023, Cifas member organisations prevented around £1.3 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.

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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.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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