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UK Finance disclosed that identity theft is a proliferating scam, and they recorded 1.4m fraud cases reported till now in the year 2023.
According to UK Finance, identity theft is the fastest-growing scam in the realm of online scams, recording a total of 1.4m fraud cases in the first half of 2023; equating to approximately one fraud case every 12 seconds. Overall, the finance department revealed that UK consumers lost a total of £580m in the first six months of the year from the various scams from which identity theft is at the top of the list. They also disclosed that the consumers will lose more than £1b to scammers at the end of the year.
UK Finance collected data from financial institutes and law enforcement agencies on behalf of high-street banks. They stated that identity theft has increased by 50% compared to the previous year, primarily because banks neglect KYC during onboarding. Scammers use the personal information of the individual to take over their bank accounts, apply for credit cards, or proceed with illegal activities, such as money laundering and terrorist financing. The managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, Ben Donaldson, stated, “In the first six months of this year, ruthless criminals had already stolen more than half a billion pounds from victims through fraud. In addition to the financial losses, these crimes often involve callous manipulation of the victim, which can cause psychological and emotional harm. The only way we will prevent fraud is if other sectors do much more to help us deal with the criminality that is increasingly taking place on their platforms.”
Customers also reported receiving messages from banks or the police to deposit cash in safe accounts. “Safe account” is also an identity theft type, where scammers use fake police officers’ or bank representatives’ IDs to conduct fraud with individuals. Digitalisation makes it convenient for scammers to gather data from online platforms and mislead consumers. The fraud prevention director at Lloyds Banking Group, Liz Ziegler, stated his opinion on the current topic, “far from stemming the tide of fraud, the wave of social media scams impacting UK consumers only continues to grow. We know from our own research that more than two-thirds of online shopping scams start on Facebook. Yet it remains far too easy for criminals to set up fake profiles and advertise items that simply don’t exist, with no secure payment method offered to buyers.”
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