More than one million incidents of financial fraud occurred in the first six months of 2016, constituting a 53% increase when compared to the same period last year, according to a report released by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK). This equates to an incident occurring every 15 seconds between January and June 2016.
The figures have been released to coincide with the launch of Take Five, a national campaign by the FFA and major banks and financial services providers to combat financial fraud. The campaign focuses on financial scams directly targeting customers, such as email phishing and phone and text-based scams, and is designed to remind people that ‘it pays to stop and think’.
The research reveals that the most common reason for respondents sharing their details was because they felt that the person seemed genuine (43%), while 39% said they did so because they ‘felt pressured’. Almost a quarter of fraud victims said the main reason was because the fraudster was extremely convincing.
More than a third believed they were being scammed during the conversation but still continued with the transaction, and some 23% realised after the conversation had finished.
FFA UK recommends the following five steps to avoid scams:
- Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details
- Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are
- Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think
- Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it
- Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.
Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK, said: ‘Banks and other financial service providers work hard to protect their customers, using highly sophisticated security systems. Last year, banks stopped £7 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening. But as the banks’ systems get more advanced, fraudsters turn their attention elsewhere and sadly this often means tricking people out of their personal details and money.
‘We are asking people to take five – to take that moment – to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details.’