According to new data from UK Finance, criminal activities led to the theft of £580 million through unauthorised and authorised fraud during the first half of 2023, marking a two percent decrease when compared to the same period in 2022.
The report highlights a growing trend where criminals are increasingly exploiting social media, online platforms, text messages, phone calls, and emails to deceive victims into divulging their personal information and money.
Losses from authorised push payment (APP) fraud amounted to £239.3 million, representing a one percent decrease compared to the previous year. This figure encompasses £196.7 million in personal losses and £42.6 million in business losses.
An overwhelming 77 percent of APP fraud cases originated from online sources. Typically, these cases involve lower-value scams, like purchase scams, contributing to 32 percent of the total losses. Another 17 percent of cases had their origins in telecommunications and generally involve higher-value scams, such as impersonation fraud, accounting for 45 percent of total losses.
The total number of APP cases surged by 22 percent, reaching 116,324. This increase was predominantly driven by purchase scams, where individuals are duped into paying for non-existent goods. The total number of such cases rose by 43 percent to nearly 77,000, constituting two-thirds of all APP cases. The amount lost in these scams increased by 31 percent, totalling £40.9 million.
Romance scams also saw an upswing, with a 29 percent rise in the number of cases, and the total amount lost to this type of fraud increased by 26 percent to £18.5 million.
Conversely, there was a decline in fraud cases where criminals impersonate banks or the police, convincing victims to transfer money to a purported ‘safe account.’ Incidents of this type fell by 35 percent, with a corresponding 27 percent reduction in the amount lost. This reduction follows significant efforts to educate consumers that banks will never request money transfers in this manner.
In total, £152.8 million of APP losses were returned to victims in H1 2023, which constitutes 64 percent of the total losses. This marks a 13 percent increase from the £135.6 million returned in H1 2022.