Personal banking current accounts have overtaken mortgages as the single biggest source of attempted fraud, according to data company Experian.
In the first three months of 2015 some 0.89% of applications for current accounts came from fraudsters, while 0.83% of mortgage applications were fraudulent.
Virtually half of those (49%) used a stolen identity, often obtained via phishing emails which trick members of the public into handing over passwords and other personal information. Once the account is successfully open, criminals are able to obtain credit cards and other financial products in order to steal money.
Nick Mothershaw, a director of identity and fraud at Experian, said: “Knowing what your bank can and cannot ask you for will help you avoid phishing scams. Making sure sensitive mail is shredded is also important.”
Victims of fraud are usually reimbursed by their banks but the inconvenience and stress can be severe.
Banks and building societies will not contact you to ask you to reveal personal information via the phone, text or email, so customers should be wary of any unusual communications.