National crisis: £95 reported lost to fraud every second in the UK
Outseer, the leader in payment authentication and monitoring solutions, has today released a new study that finds £95 is reported lost to fraudsters every second in the UK. Outseer studied data of all the reported incidents of fraud to Action Fraud – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – between 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. Fraud is now a national crisis; one case was reported to Action Fraud every 85 seconds and reported losses totalled over £3bn during this single 12 month period. In fact, if fraud in the UK was a person, they made enough in the last 12 months to place them comfortably within the top 60 places of The Sunday Times’ annual Rich List.
“These numbers make for grim reading – showing that fraud is now a part of everyday life for the British public,” commented Mark Crichton, head of product at Outseer. “Of even more concern is that the figures only scratch the surface of the true scale of the problem. The UK’s National Crime Agency believes fewer than 20% of incidents of fraud are actually reported. Whether it’s fraudulent payments, brand impersonation or a dating scam, the reality is there’s a huge number of victims and the consequences can be devastating – with the average reported loss per victim at £8,100. This should be a wake-up call for businesses and consumers alike. Businesses must do more to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, or risk falling foul to the multi-billion-pound fraud economy.”
The data also sheds light on the most popular ways that fraudsters are targeting victims. The most used attack vector in the last 12 months was online shopping and auctions, which was reported more than 72,000 times and resulted in £62.7m in losses. The uptick in the number of people shopping online and using digital channels to interact with businesses means that digital payments are a top target for scammers. Other key findings are:
- Fraud from online shopping and auctions is over 1.5x more common than the second most popular attack vector, advanced fee fraud, which had almost 29,000 reported cases.
- Dating and romance scams remain widespread, with almost £100 million of reported financial losses over the past 12 months in this category.
- Financial investment fraud caused the most monetary damage, with reported losses totalling more than £409m.
While it’s often assumed that it’s the less tech-savvy older generations that fall victim to fraud, the data finds that the highest number of reports came from the 20-39 age group, followed by those aged 40-59. While the number of cases is higher in the younger age categories, the 60-79 and 80+ age groups on average lost more than twice the amount of money as 20-39-year-olds. As expected, the highest number of fraud reports and losses came from London due to its large population and being the location of the UK’s major financial institutions. However, overall, what the data shows is that location isn’t significant – wherever you live or wherever a business is located, the risk of fraud in the UK is substantial.
“It’s time to dispel the myth that most fraud cases are older people falling prey to simple phishing scams. Anyone can be a victim of fraud – age and location do not matter,” continued Crichton. “Scammers use AI and machine learning to create highly convincing and sophisticated scams that even the best-trained eye could be duped by. Businesses must fight fire with fire, adopting AI-driven solutions to monitor, detect, and prevent fraud before it harms both their customers and reputation. Consumers also need to get into good habits to protect themselves from fraud – this includes researching any unfamiliar websites or apps, keeping track of bank accounts to spot suspicious activity, and never giving away personal passwords or PINs.”