Criminals have pilfered a total of £503.4 million from the clients of British banking institutions during the first half of 2018, according to a new report from UK Finance. The organization revealed that £145 million was stolen from bank account holders through authorized push payment (APP) frauds, where individuals are conned into sending money to another bank account. Also, this type of fraud leaves customers with no option for recovering their funds.
The remaining £358 million was reportedly lost to other forms of unauthorized scams, including transactions created without the account holder’s knowledge, though they can still regain their lost money. Among all forms of APP scams, purchase scams through which people are duped into spending money on goods and services which do not really exist are the most prevalent, comprising 63% of all instances, during the first six months of 2018, according to UK Finance.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said:
“Fraud and scams pose a major threat to our country. The criminals behind it target their victims indiscriminately and the proceeds go on to fund terrorism, people smuggling and drug trafficking, whether or not the individual is refunded. Every part of society must help to stamp out this menace, especially by stopping the data breaches which increasingly are fueling fraud."
In terms of the number of APP scams, UK Finance recorded a total of 34,128 cases during that period. The figure marks an increase from the first half of 2017 when 19,370 cases of APP scams were reported, amounting to £101.2 million in losses. In addition to APP scams, a total of 3,866 cases of impersonation fraud have been reported as well, in which crooks pretend to be police officers or the customer's bank and lure them into giving money to the fraudsters.
These criminals are said to be using the funds they have stolen from multiple bank accounts to fund terrorism and drug trafficking activities. While industry claims that it is trying to address these problems, those efforts are seen to be insufficient as scammers continue to victimize many people.