UK hardest hit European country for online fraud

16th June 2021

New research by Uswitch.com  has revealed impersonation scams as collectively having had the highest financial impact from fraud in the UK. with £96.6 million lost to impersonation fraud of police or bank staff in 2020, alongside £53.7 million lost to other types of impersonation scams.

Unlike impersonation scams, where collectively more than half (56%) of the value lost was reimbursed, other types of fraud victims weren’t as lucky in regaining their stolen money. Purchase scams impacted the highest volume of people in the UK in 2020 at over 78,700 cases but had the lowest reimbursement rate at just 29%.

Investment scams saw the largest financial impact in the UK from a single form of fraud, with £135.1 million lost to these scams in 2020, yet only 36% (£49 million) of that value was reimbursed.

Looking at fraud across the whole of Europe, the findings reveal the UK as the country most impacted financially by fraud, with more than one in nine (12%) Brits affected and a value of £8,908 (€10,414) lost per 1,000 inhabitants.

In the UK, fraud poses a major threat as criminals become ever more imaginative in their attempts to steal customers’ money. From the research, it’s revealed that UK internet fraud losses have increased significantly over the years, reaching a peak in 2018 at £394.2 million – the highest loss to fraud since 2010.

The amount lost to fraud dipped in 2019 from the previous year, falling to £359.3 million, but has since risen again. In 2020, £376.5 million of internet and e-commerce fraud took place in the UK, up 179% from 2010.

Cybercrime is now one of the most prevalent crimes in the UK. People are more likely to fall victim to fraud or cyber offences above many other crimes, with Brits statistically being 20 times more likely to be a victim of fraud than of a robbery.

Survey data reveals over half (51%) of the UK said they have suffered financial losses due to fraud. Not only that, 45% have had their personal information stolen online, and two fifths (40%) said their mental health has suffered. Despite this, however, a further fifth (21%) said they do not think they are susceptible to online fraud.

Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com said“Fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in their methods, creating scams for all types of products and services, such as loans, dating, holidays, and business opportunities. Sadly, people of all ages can fall victim to fraud. Not only do online scams target vulnerable individuals, but they also go after major corporations, smaller businesses, and the public sector.”

“There are, however, several ways to avoid falling for internet scams. With better knowledge and an awareness of the different types of online fraud, you can spot these scams before it’s too late.”

Table: Top ten countries in Europe most financially impacted by card fraud

Rank

Country

Value lost per 1,000 inhabitants (£/€)

Volume (people) impacted per 1,000 inhabitants

1

United Kingdom

£8,908 (€10,414)

123

2

Ireland

£6,800 (€7,949)

88

3

Denmark

£6,223 (€7,274)

51

4

France

£5,746 (€6,716)

101

5

Luxembourg

£5,064 (€5,919)

40

6

Malta

£3,549 (€4,148)

34

7

Sweden

£3,093 (€3,615)

30

8

Finland

£2,036 (€2,380)

21

9

Belgium

£1,974 (€2,307)

21

10

Netherlands

£1,799 (€2,103)

15