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Fraudsters turn to old fashioned scams

Fraudsters turn to old fashioned scams

Category: Money

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 05/10/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
Banking fraud fell in the first half of 2011, but criminals are turning to old fashioned methods to scam people out of their cash.

Total fraud losses on UK cards fell to £169.8 million between January to June – a 9% decline compared with the same period last year.

It is the lowest total for 11 years and also the third consecutive fall in card fraud.

The Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK ) said the sustained fall is due to the success of a number of industry initiatives such as the increasing use of fraud detection software, the roll-out of updated chip cards and the increasing use of chip and PIN technology abroad.

Online banking fraud losses also fell during the six months, down by 32% to £16.9 million, with the decline attributed to increased customer awareness of computer security and banks' use of fraud detection software.

However, phone banking fraud losses rose to £8.6 million (a 48% increase) between January and June 2011.

As with card fraud, criminals are focusing on the straightforward crime of duping a customer into believing they are dealing with a bank or police representative and getting them to disclose their financial security details - such as PINs, passwords and login details - which the criminal then uses to access the customer's bank account over the phone.

Cheque fraud losses increased from £14.0 million in the first half of 2010 to £16.4 million during the same period in 2011.

FFA UK said that although this is a 17% increase, in the overwhelming majority of cases this type of fraud is stopped before the cheque is paid.

More than £254 million of attempted cheque fraud was spotted and stopped during the clearing process in the first half of this year.

"Losses are appreciably lower than they were a few years ago and everyone involved in tackling fraud has reason to be encouraged by this - and that includes bank customers who, as their own front-line of defence, have certainly played their part too," said DCI Paul Barnard, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit

"However, there has been an increase in old fashioned scams - criminals using distraction techniques and social engineering methods to get hold of people's cards or phone banking details.

"We are urging everyone to be on their guard. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email you and ask you for your login details, cards or PINs.

"If anyone does, they are probably a criminal, so hang up the phone or delete the email."

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