UK Consumers Lose £580 Million to Scams in H1 2023

Published 8 months ago

In the first half of 2023, UK consumers lost £580 million to unauthorised and authorised fraud, a decrease of 2% compared to the same period in 2022, according to data from UK Finance.

Scammers Increasingly Turn to Digital Platforms

The report highlights the growing trend of criminals using social media, online platforms, texts, phone calls, and emails to trick victims into divulging personal information and money. Authorised push payment (APP) fraud accounted for £239.3 million of the losses, a 1% decrease from the previous year. Of these, £196.7 million were personal losses and £42.6 million were business losses.

Rise in Online Fraud Cases

Approximately 77% of APP fraud cases were traced back to online sources, marking a significant shift towards digital platforms for fraud activities. These cases mostly involve lower-value scams, such as purchase scams, which comprise 32% of the total losses. A further 17% of cases were traced back to telecommunications sources, often involving higher-value scams like impersonation fraud, accounting for 45% of total losses.

Increase in Purchase and Romance Scams

The first half of 2023 saw a marked increase in the number of purchase scams, which involve victims being tricked into paying for non-existent goods. The number of these cases surged by 43% to almost 77,000, accounting for two-thirds of all APP cases. The total amount lost to these scams increased by 31% to £40.9 million.

Romance scams, where victims are tricked into believing they are in a relationship, also saw a significant rise. The number of these cases increased by 29%, and the total amount lost climbed by 26% to £18.5 million.

Decrease in Bank Impersonation Fraud

In a positive turn, the number of fraud cases where criminals impersonate a bank or the police and convince someone to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ fell by 35%. The amount lost to this type of fraud also declined by 27%.

£152.8 Million Returned to Victims

The report showed that £152.8 million of APP losses, or 64% of the total loss, was returned to victims in the first half of 2023. This marks a 13% increase from the £135.6 million returned to victims in H1 2022.

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