Holly Andrews | 05/06/2024

UK Annual Fraud Report: Top 5 scams to watch out for in 2024

The 2024 UK annual Fraud Report has just come out, which details last year’s fraud trends and statistics. This gives us a great insight on what types of fraud are on the rise and what scams we should be on the lookout for. Based on this report, here are 5 scams that are likely to be very prominent for the rest of this year.

Card ID theft

This is where a victim’s card details or card itself has been stolen. Using this, and some personal details, the fraudster opens up or takes control of a card account in the victim’s name. Worryingly, this type of fraud has surged by nearly 75%, with losses nearing £80 million in 2023.

Card ID theft comes in two ways, third party application and account takeover. Both rely on stealing personal information, through methods like social engineering or data leaks.

In a third-party application, the scammer opens a new card account in the victim’s name.

In an account takeover, the fraudster logs directly into the victim’s existing account.

Both result in financial loss for the victim, but account takeovers can cause immediate damage, while third-party applications can lead to long-term credit issues

The best way to protect yourself against this is to use two factor authentication for any account changes and to monitor your accounts, statements and credit reports for any suspicious activity.

Telephone banking

This type of fraud is conducted over the phone, where criminals will use a variety of tactics to deceive their victim into revealing sensitive financial information.

Cases of telephone fraud experienced a 21% rise last year and a 19% increase in the amount of money stolen.

The most common way the scammer will succeed is with social engineering. The scammer will pose as bank officials, police officers or other authority figures. From there they will try to build trust with you and then ask for your bank details. It is always important to remember that legitimate organisations will never ask for your personal details over the phone. If you're unsure about the caller's identity, hang up and call the organisation directly.

Mobile banking

Mobile banking relies on our trust of banking apps, but scammers will exploit weaknesses in the apps. They use phishing tactics or malware to compromise your bank details and gain access to accounts through these apps.

This type of fraud, measured distinctly from web-based banking on mobile devices, has seen an astounding 62% increase in cases. Once a scammer has access to your account, they can cause financial havoc with unauthorised transactions, making purchases or transferring funds.

To keep yourself safe only use banking apps from official app stores, use two factor authentication and always be cautious with links and attachments.

Purchase scam

The scammer will get the victim to pay upfront for a product that does not exist, often using social media. Usually using great prices to lure the victim, this type of scam is simple and effective, which is why there are 34% more cases recorded compared to last year.

The advice for this one is straightforward:

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

If someone is selling a new computer at half the retail price it is probably not real. A healthy dose of scepticism and online awareness online, goes a long way.

Romance scam

Romance scams are a specific and cruel social engineering scam based around love. The scammer will feign romantic interest in their victim and start a fake relationship with them, hiding behind social media or dating apps. After a time, when trust has been built, the scammer will tug at heartstrings and plead for money for some emergency, like a health crisis or visa.

With romance scams, victims average 10 payments to the scammer over the course of the scam. Although only 4,160 cases were reported last year, an overwhelming £36.5 million was recorded being lost to this type of fraud.

The true number of cases is likely to be significantly higher, as victims are left hurt, sad and feeling foolish.

If this has happened to you, please report it. There is certainly no need to feel foolish, you should just feel angry. The people who carry out these scams are very good at it and know how to catch us out.

The best prevention for this is caution, be careful who you trust and even more so to who you send money to.

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