Tag Archives: Financial Fraud Action UK

Criminals target UK’s youth as cases of identity fraud increase

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing a 52% rise in young identity fraud victims in the UK. In 2015, just under 24,000 (23,959) people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.

The figures have been published on the same day as a new short film, entitled ‘Data to Go’, is launched online to raise awareness of this type of fraud. Shot in a London coffee shop in March this year, the film uses hidden cameras to capture baffled reactions from people caught in a stunt where their personal data, all found on public websites, is revealed to them live on a coffee cup.

Identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often, victims don’t even realise that they’ve been targeted until a bill arrives for something they didn’t buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

IdentityTheftNew

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters usually have access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank details and information on who they hold accounts with. Fraudsters gain such detail in a variety of ways, including through hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together. 86% of all identity frauds in 2015 were perpetrated online.

People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud, but with growing numbers of young people falling victim, Cifas is calling for better education around fraud and financial crime.

Fraudsters are opportunists

Simon Dukes, CEO of Cifas, said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, so the fraudsters have instead focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details. Society, Government and industry all have a role to play in preventing fraud. However, our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need.”

Dukes continued: “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they’re now a hunting ground for identity thieves. We’re urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what information they share. Social media is fantastic, and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”

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Commander Chris Greany, the City of London Police’s national co-ordinator for economic crime, added: “We’ve known for some time that identity fraud has become the engine that drives much of today’s criminality, and so it’s vitally important that people keep their personal information safe and secure. In the fight against fraud, education is key and it’s great that Cifas and its members are taking identity fraud seriously and working together to raise awareness of how the issue is now increasingly affecting young people through the launch of this film.”

As part of the campaign, Cifas commissioned a survey with Britain Thinks to find out more about 18-24 year olds’ attitudes towards personal data and identity fraud. The survey found that young people are alarmingly unaware that they’re at risk:

  • Only 34% of 18-24 year olds say they learned about online security when they were at school
  • 50% of the 18-24 year olds surveyed believe they would never fall for an online scam (compared to the national average of 37%)
  • Only 57% of 18-24 year olds report thinking about how secure their personal details are online (compared to 73% for the population as a whole)

They’re also less likely to install anti-virus software on their mobile phone than the national average (27% compared to 37%).

Organisations such as the City of London Police, Action Fraud, Get Safe Online, Her Majesty’s Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign, Financial Fraud Action UK and Cifas members including Coventry Building Society, BT and Secure Trust Bank are all supporting the campaign and sharing the new film across their social media networks.

Cifas is also appealing to youth organisations, schools and universities to share the film so it reaches as many young people as possible.

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Customers urged to be vigilant as card fraudsters increase scam attacks

New figures released by Financial Fraud Action UK show that card and remote banking fraud increased during the first six months of 2014. The intelligence behind the figures reinforces recent trends, which have seen the growth of deception crimes seeking to persuade consumers to part with their personal and financial information, as well as criminals’ use of computer viruses. As a result, customers are being warned to remain vigilant and aware of the key warning signs of scams.

Fraud losses on UK cards totalled £247.6 million between January and June 2014, an increase of 15% from £216.1 million during the same period in 2013. Fraud as a proportion of card purchases has remained flat at 7.4 pence for every £100 spent, the same proportion as the industry reported at the end of 2013.

Losses on remote banking fraud rose to £35.9 million, up 59% from £22.6 million in 2013. Within this total, online banking fraud losses rose to £29.3 million, a growth of 71% from £17.1 million in 2013. Telephone banking fraud rose to £6.6 million, up 20% from £5.5 million. Intelligence suggests criminals are targeting business accounts which typically allow higher value fraudulent transactions.

Losses due to remote card purchases (those made online, over the telephone or by mail order) rose to £174.5 million in the first six months of 2014, up 23% from £142 million in the same period in 2013.

Within this total, the e-commerce fraud loss is estimated to be £110 million, up 23% from an estimated £89.5 million in the first half of 2013. While significant, this rise needs to be viewed in the context of the increase in Internet shopping by British consumers, with spending up from an estimated £40.5 billion in the first half of 2013 to an estimated £47 billion in the same period in 2014 (according to IMRG). Card payments are the main driver of online spending growth as they provide the most effective way to pay online.

Card fraud rises, but as a proportion of spending remains flat at 7.4 pence for every £100 spent during the first half of 2014

Card fraud rises, but as a proportion of spending remains flat at 7.4 pence for every £100 spent during the first half of 2014

Growth of deception crimes

A key driver for the rise in fraud losses has been the growth of deception crimes aimed at individuals and businesses. A combination of Chip and PIN and advanced fraud screening detection processes used by the banks drove a long-term decline in card fraud up to 2012. This is illustrated by the 72% decline in High Street fraud losses between 2004 and 2013. In response, fraudsters are increasingly concentrating their efforts on obtaining personal and financial details from individual customers rather than attacking the security systems used by the banks.

An increasing problem has been criminals telephoning people at home while posing as the bank, police or representatives of other trusted organisations such as Government departments. These cold calls typically involve the fraudster tricking their victim into revealing personal or financial information, such as their four-digit PIN or online banking details, transferring money to another account or accepting a courier into their home to pick up their card.

Once details have been compromised, they are then used to commit fraud through both remote (telephone or online) banking channels and via shopping online.

Commonly, fraudsters target retailers who have not introduced adequate Internet shopping protections. Research conducted by the ICM for Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) showed that a quarter (25%) of customers do not take steps to challenge the identity of a cold caller, with this figure rising to 34% of 18-24 year-olds. To stop these scams, police and fraud experts are highlighting the key warning signs.

Your bank will never:
*Call you and ask for your four-digit PIN or your full online or telephone banking security codes over the phone
*Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them, or to transfer money to another account (even if they say the account is in your name)
*Come to your home to collect your cash, payment card or cheque book
*Ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe keeping

Intelligence also shows criminals are using computer viruses to steal personal and financial information which is then used to commit fraud. FFA UK strongly endorses last month’s ‘Call to Action’ by the National Crime Agency for consumers to download and update security software. Free software is often available for customers to download from their banks’ website.

Distraction thefts: driver of fraud

Distraction thefts in shops and at ATMs have been identified as a driver of fraud on lost or stolen cards, which has increased by 3% to £29.2 million from £28.2 million in the first half of 2013.

Meanwhile, mail non-receipt fraud has increased by 10% to £5 million, up from £4.6 million, with fraudsters targeting multiple occupancy residences to intercept cards and personal details from post boxes.

Counterfeit card fraud rose by 4% in the first six months of 2014 to £24.2 million, up from £23.3 million in 2013. The key driver for this modest rise is that stolen card details in the UK are being used to create counterfeit cards for use overseas in countries which have not yet implemented Chip and PIN.

Fraud on contactless cards continues to be negligible at £51,000 over the first six months of the year, which is just 0.007% of contactless card spending. Cheque fraud losses fell by 34% to £10.5 million in the first half of 2014, from £15.8 million in January to June 2013. The continued success of improved fraudulent cheque detection methods and enhanced prevention controls is the driver for this long-term decline.

The industry is tackling fraud through enforcement, information sharing, technological advances and awareness campaigns. The industry fully sponsors a specialist police unit, the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), which identifies and targets the organised criminal gangs responsible for payment fraud. Since its inception in 2002, the DCPCU has achieved an estimated £800,000 per week in savings from reduced fraud.

Through FFA UK, the card and retail banking industry securely shares intelligence on emerging threats and identifies patterns in fraud which protect consumers and strengthen the industry’s defences.

Banks use a range of increasingly sophisticated fraud screening detection tools to prevent fraudulent transactions. FFA UK will shortly be launching a ‘vishing’ awareness initiative aimed at increasing customer vigilance over such scams.

Detective Chief Inspector Perry Stokes, head of the DCPCU, said: “Be very suspicious of phone calls, texts or e-mails which come out of the blue asking for personal or financial details, regardless of who the person on the other end of the line claims to represent. Be aware of the warning signs. Your bank will never ask you for your four-digit PIN, to transfer or withdraw money or to give your card to a courier. We’re asking members of the public to pass this information on to any family and friends who may be unaware, and echo recent calls made by the Commissioner of the City of London Police for a national awareness-raising campaign led by Government.”

View the full 2014 half year fraud figures

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UK Government campaign urges citizens to be Cyber Streetwise

A new campaign designed to change the way in which people protect themselves while shopping, banking or socialising online in order to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals has been launched today by the UK Government.

The Cyber Streetwise campaign aims to change the way people view online safety and provide members of the public and businesses alike with the necessary skills and knowledge required for them to take control of their own cyber security.

Building on the National Cyber Security Programme1, the campaign includes a new easy-to-use website and online videos.

With more than 11 million Internet-enabled devices received as gifts during the Christmas period2, Cyber Streetwise will help in the fight against online criminals. People are encouraged to protect themselves and their families online by visiting the website for tips and advice.

The new website, http://www.cyberstreetwise.com, offers a range of interactive resources, tailoring an individual’s visit to provide clear advice on the essentials for enjoying a safe experience online.

Security minister James Brokenshire

Security minister James Brokenshire

Security minister James Brokenshire said: “The Internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise. It has created a wealth of opportunities, but with these opportunities there are also threats. As a Government we are taking the fight to cyber criminals wherever they are in the world.”

Brokenshire continued: “‘However, by taking a few simple steps while online the public can keep cyber criminals out and their information safe. Cyber Streetwise is an innovative new campaign that will provide everyone with the knowledge and confidence to make simple and effective changes to stay safe online.”

National Cyber Security Programme

The launch of the campaign is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme1 and comes at a time when an increasing number of people use the web on their laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Findings from the Government’s most recent National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker3 suggest that more than half the population are not taking simple actions to protect themselves online.

While 94% of people believe it’s their personal responsibility to ensure a safe Internet experience, the research highlights the facts that:

• only 44% always install Internet security software on new equipment
• only 37% download updates and patches for personal computers when prompted… a figure which falls even further to a fifth (21%) for smart phones and mobile devices
• less than a third (30%) habitually use complex passwords to protect online accounts
• 57% do not always check websites are secure before making a purchase

The Cyber Streetwise campaign underlines that safety precautions taken in the real world have similar relevance in the virtual world. Research shows that shoppers don’t adopt the same behaviours when shopping online as contrasted with shopping on the High Street. A person wouldn’t walk around with their bag open or wallet on show yet, when shopping online and due to the speed of technology, people can be open to unnecessary risk if they’re not careful when using their credit card.

Five key actions to prevent cyber crime

There are five actions people can take in order to protect themselves and others from cyber crime. The key behaviours the campaign is focusing on changing are:

1. Using strong, memorable passwords
2. Installing anti-virus software on new devices
3. Checking privacy settings on social media
4. Shopping safely online, always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure
5. Downloading software and application patches when prompted

The research shows our biggest concerns when it comes to online safety are identity theft (48%) and losing money (52%). 16% of those surveyed claim to have lost at least £500 as a result of having their card details stolen and used over the Internet (representing a total loss of more than £4 billion).

Almost a third (32%) of those who admit to not installing security software on Internet-enabled devices blame a lack of understanding, while around a fifth (18%) say they did not realise the risk.

With initial funding allocated from the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme, the Cyber Streetwise campaign has been joined by a number of private sector partners who are providing support and investment. Among those involved are Sophos, Facebook, the RBS Group and Financial Fraud Action UK.

References

1. For further information on the National Cyber Security Programme, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/keeping-the-uk-safe-in-cyberspace

2. Figure provided by retail experts Conlumino and based on items bought in the five weeks up to and including Christmas Week 2013. Figure includes tablets, smart phones, connected e-readers, laptops, desktops and connected games consoles. Data derived from Christmas tracker which surveyed 22,762 consumers over the run-up to Christmas 2013

3. National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker – Wave 3, October 2013

Figure based on 16% of the adult UK population (8,028,924) Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2012 Release, Office for National Statistics, 8 August 2013

4. Cyber Streetwise is a cross-Government awareness and behaviour change campaign delivered by the Home Office in conjunction with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills alongside the National Crime Agency and Action Fraud and supported by the National Cyber Security Programme (Cabinet Office)

5. The campaign has wide support across industry with over 20 organisations providing access to communications channels to reach their customers or providing monetary support. Organisations involved include: Sophos, Facebook, Financial Fraud Action UK, RBS, Trend Micro and Vodafone

6. The Cyber Streetwise campaign launched on Monday 13 January 2014 with outdoor, radio and digital advertising. The advertising campaign has been designed by M&C Saatchi. To view and download assets please visit: http://www.consolpr.com/outbound/JAN/Cyberstreetwisecollateral.zip

7. To view the online videos visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/becyberstreetwise/videos

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