Over £1bn stolen by fraudsters in 2023, finds UK Finance

Criminals stole £1.17 billion through fraud last year, according to the latest UK Finance figures.

The trade association, which represents over 300 financial services firms in the UK, said that unauthorised and authorised fraud was down four per cent compared to 2022.

During the 12-month period, banks prevented a further £1.25 billion of unauthorised fraud through advanced security systems.

“The financial services industry remains at the forefront of efforts to protect customers, prevent fraud and support those who fall victim," said Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance. "With reimbursement rules set to change we risk even more money getting into criminal hands, unless the technology and telecommunication sectors take proper action to stop the fraud that proliferates on their platforms and networks.”

Losses due to unauthorised transactions across payment cards, remote banking and cheques were more than £708 million in 2023, down three per cent compared the previous year.

The total number of recorded cases was 2.7 million, down two per cent.

UK Finance said that one of the top drivers for the fall in payment card fraud losses was a nine per cent fall in remote purchase losses, the fifth consecutive year of declines.

The roll-out of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) over the past two years has helped to reduce this type of fraud by verifying customer’s identity.

Authorised push payment (APP) fraud losses were more than £459 million, down five per cent compared to 2022.

The total number of APP cases was up 12 per cent to 232,429.

76 per cent of APP fraud started online, while 16 per cent started through telecommunications networks.

Card ID theft – whereby criminals are unable to socially engineer their victims into making authorised push payments so instead use personal information and stolen card details to take over accounts or apply for new credit cards – increased again this year, with losses up 53 per cent to around £79 million.

“As the UK Finance report shows, fraud levels in the UK, while down from an unprecedented high during the pandemic, remain vast," said Mike Haley, chief executive of fraud prevention non-profit Cifas. "This crime devastates individuals personally and financially, and fuels wider crime such as people trafficking, drug dealing, and human slavery. Nobody is untouched by this problem, and we need decisive action to tackle this."

The figures come after Cifas launched Fraud Pledges 2024 last week, a set of proposals requesting the government commit to reforms and prevention strategies that better protect communities and UK businesses from fraud.

The Cifas Fraud Pledges are:

1. Provide cross-government leadership in the response to fraud
2. Improve the policing response to fraud
3. Enhance support to victims of fraud
4. Make the criminal justice response fit for tackling 21st Century fraud
5. Require social media and online platforms to join the multi-sector response to fraud

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