Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, has published its annual report which indicates that Identity fraud has reached a record high. The Fraudscape report data identifies and analyses the country’s fraud trends based on 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018. The data, from over 470 organisations, including major UK brands from across the sectors, is one of the most comprehensive pictures of fraud and fraudulent attempts in the UK.

With an overall increase of 6% in cases recorded by Cifas members, the new figures show significant areas of concern. Key findings from the Cifas’ annual report Fraudscape include:

  • Identity fraud reach record highs with plastic cards taking the brunt of the fraud. Identity fraud significantly increased in 2018, with 189,108 cases recorded an 8% increase on 2017’s figures. Plastic cards were hit the hardest with 82,608 reports of fraud, up 41% from 2017. More fraud means more victims – 19 out of 20 frauds involved a victim left to pick up the pieces. .
  • Cifas reports increases in identity fraud across all age groups but particularly the young and old. Victims aged 21 and under rose 26%, while the over-60s saw an alarming 34% increase on the previous year. As older people are more likely to be approved for credit and their online presence grows, fraudsters are increasingly targeting them online: in 2018 more than 33,000 over-60s were the victim of identity fraud.
  • Cases which are indicative of money mule activity are up across the board with a 26% increase from 2017, and Cifas has seen a steep incline in those aged 40- 60 becoming involved in such activity, increasing 35%.  This illustrates that being drawn into such criminality is not a problem limited to younger generations.

Chief Executive Officer of Cifas, Mike Haley, said “Fraud in the UK continues to rise and fraudsters are constantly finding new methods of committing fraud. From identity theft through to using the young and naïve as money mules to launder money, the economic and social harm to the nation is growing. The only way to fight the threat is to combine communication and collaboration, working together to present a united front against the perpetrators. As no one can expect to deliver effective defense against ever-present threats without the full picture, Fraudscape is a crucial weapon in fraud prevention, allowing us to see where the current attacks are coming from and where future dangers lie.”

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer at secure payment solution, Shieldpay, said “Giving your bank details to someone you don’t know, especially when their intentions are suspect, is like throwing money into a black hole. It’s alarming to see so many different types of fraud becoming increasingly prevalent. So-called ‘money mules’ are unlikely to know what they are involved in but all too often if something does look too good to be true, it is. Anyone who thinks they may have been victim of fraud, or are at risk, should report it to the Police or Action Fraud straight away.”

“It’s crucial that banks adopt increasingly sophisticated technology, like Shieldpay, that safeguards consumers from such crimes and prevents people’s hard-earned money lining the pockets of the fraudsters.”