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More than £1.2bn lost to fraud in 2022 – is social media to blame?

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
Updated:
11/05/2023

UK Finance found that three quarters of online fraud cases last year started on social media and has called on tech firms to do more to help victims.

Figures from the trade body show that nearly 80% of authorised push payment (APP) fraud cases start online. UK Finance says the banking sector spends billions on fraud detection and prevention and that other sectors must “do far more to tackle the problem they are facilitating”.

UK Finance’s Annual Fraud Report details the amount of money stolen by criminals through financial fraud. It found that more than £1.2bn was stolen by criminals through authorised and unauthorised fraud in 2022, equivalent to more than £2,300 every minute.

The figure for total losses represents a reduction of 8% on 2021, while the number of fraud cases across the UK was down 4% from 2021, to almost three million cases.

Unauthorised fraud

Within the total figure, unauthorised fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques reached £726.9m in 2022, a decrease of less than 1% compared to 2021.

Remote purchase fraud, where a criminal uses stolen card details to buy something online, over the phone or through mail order, remains the biggest category of losses at £395.7m.

Fraud on lost and stolen cards increased by 30% to £100.2m and card ID theft, where a criminal opens or takes over a card account in someone else’s name, almost doubled to £51.7m.

Authorised fraud

Authorised push payment (APP) fraud losses reached £485.2m, down 17% compared to 2021.

Within this, 57% of all reported cases related to purchase fraud, with case volumes breaking 100,000 for the first time. Investment fraud continued to have one of the largest proportions of APP losses (24%). Overall, the amount of APP fraud losses reimbursed increased by 5% in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Sources of fraud

UK Finance conducted analysis on more than 59,000 APP fraud cases to show the sources of fraud.

The analysis showed that 78% of APP fraud cases originated online, with about three-quarters starting on social media.

Meanwhile, 18% of fraud cases originate via telecommunications – these are usually higher value cases, such as impersonation fraud, and account for 44% of losses.

Stopping fraud at source

David Postings, chief executive at UK Finance, said: “Fraud has a devastating impact on victims and over £1.2bn was stolen by criminals last year. The banking and finance sector is at the forefront of efforts to tackle this criminal activity. The sector spends billions on detection and prevention and also refunds people who have fallen victim, even if the fraud originated outside the banking system.

“Our data also makes clear just how much fraud emanates from online platforms and through telecommunications. The government’s new fraud strategy rightly says we need to focus on stopping it at source and that these other sectors need to do far more to tackle the problem they are facilitating.”

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “These figures show fraud rates in the UK remain frighteningly high and that victims are facing the double blow of being targeted by scammers and then all too often refused reimbursement by their banks.

“If the Government is serious about its fraud strategy, the Online Safety Bill must provide meaningful protections against the deluge of online advertising fraud we all face on some of the world’s most popular social media sites and search engines – and it needs to be passed into law without delay.

“The Government must also press ahead with plans to make all banks and payment providers reimburse scam victims in all but exceptional cases.”