Britons Lost over £1.3 Billion to Online Scams in 2021

Wednesday, 29/06/2022 | 11:00 GMT by Arnab Shome
  • There was a jump of 39 percent in authorized push payment (AAP) fraud.
  • Scammers took advantage of the pandemic to trap victims.
forex fraud

More than £1.3 billion was stolen in 2021 from Britons through fraud and scams, according to the latest figure released by the industry trade body, UK Finance. Out of the total, £730.4 million was siphoned through unauthorized fraud, while authorized push payment (APP) fraud jumped 39 percent to reach £583.2 million.

With unauthorized fraud, the criminals do not seek the account holders’ authorization for siphoning the proceeds. However, scammers and impersonators indulge in AAP as they trick victims to authorize payments.

“Unauthorised fraud losses fell last year, but this type of criminal activity remains a major problem. Authorized fraud losses rose again this year as criminals targeted people through a variety of sophisticated scams, with much of the criminal activity taking place outside the banking sector, often involving online and technology platforms,” said Katy Worobec, the Managing Director of Economic Crimes at UK Finance.

People Should be Aware

The number of incidents of APP scams jumped by 27 percent last year to 195,996. It was ignited by the impact of the pandemic: people stayed longer at home, spent more time online, and increased spending on the internet shopping.

The majority of the AAP scam victims, who lost £214.8 million, fell to impersonators, while another £171.7 million was lost to investment scams.

Additionally, purchase scams were rampant with 99,733 registered cases, in which scammers tried to sell a product that did not even exist. Although total losses with such fraud tactics were at £64.1 million, they accounted for 51 percent of the total number of fraud.

Moreover, the trade body revealed that £271.2 million of losses of the AAP victims, which is almost 47 percent of the total losses, were returned.

“We continue to call for other sectors to play a greater role in helping protect customers from the scourge of fraud,” Worobec added.

“The upcoming Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill is an important development and provides the opportunity for the government to give new powers on information sharing and tracking stolen money.”

More than £1.3 billion was stolen in 2021 from Britons through fraud and scams, according to the latest figure released by the industry trade body, UK Finance. Out of the total, £730.4 million was siphoned through unauthorized fraud, while authorized push payment (APP) fraud jumped 39 percent to reach £583.2 million.

With unauthorized fraud, the criminals do not seek the account holders’ authorization for siphoning the proceeds. However, scammers and impersonators indulge in AAP as they trick victims to authorize payments.

“Unauthorised fraud losses fell last year, but this type of criminal activity remains a major problem. Authorized fraud losses rose again this year as criminals targeted people through a variety of sophisticated scams, with much of the criminal activity taking place outside the banking sector, often involving online and technology platforms,” said Katy Worobec, the Managing Director of Economic Crimes at UK Finance.

People Should be Aware

The number of incidents of APP scams jumped by 27 percent last year to 195,996. It was ignited by the impact of the pandemic: people stayed longer at home, spent more time online, and increased spending on the internet shopping.

The majority of the AAP scam victims, who lost £214.8 million, fell to impersonators, while another £171.7 million was lost to investment scams.

Additionally, purchase scams were rampant with 99,733 registered cases, in which scammers tried to sell a product that did not even exist. Although total losses with such fraud tactics were at £64.1 million, they accounted for 51 percent of the total number of fraud.

Moreover, the trade body revealed that £271.2 million of losses of the AAP victims, which is almost 47 percent of the total losses, were returned.

“We continue to call for other sectors to play a greater role in helping protect customers from the scourge of fraud,” Worobec added.

“The upcoming Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill is an important development and provides the opportunity for the government to give new powers on information sharing and tracking stolen money.”

About the Author: Arnab Shome
Arnab Shome
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About the Author: Arnab Shome
Arnab is an electronics engineer-turned-financial editor. He entered the industry covering the cryptocurrency market for Finance Magnates and later expanded his reach to forex as well. He is passionate about the changing regulatory landscape on financial markets and keenly follows the disruptions in the industry with new-age technologies.
  • 6408 Articles
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