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Third of Brits would struggle if they lost £500 to fraud

Written by: Emma Lunn
A third of Brits would struggle to afford food for themselves and their family if they lost £500 to fraud, according to research by TSB.

Data from UK Finance shows there has been a 71% increase in losses to bank transfer fraud in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period last year. There were 106,164 fraud cases in the first six months of this year alone, meaning that almost 600 people are falling victim to fraud every day.

According to UK Finance, ‘push payment’ fraud victims lose an average of £3,346. Yet TSB found that a loss of under £500 would leave a third of people struggling to afford the essentials if they weren’t refunded. The figure rises to half (50%) of people for a loss of £1,000.

Losses to fraud can prove devastating to both finances and wellbeing. More than a quarter (28%) of those polled by the bank said their mental health would be affected if they lost under £500. And this figure rises to more than two fifths (45%) for £1,000.

Worries about fraud increase with age, with two thirds (66%) of over 65s concerned by fraud, while just under half (49%) of 18 to 24-year-olds having similar concerns.

Despite this, TSB found that young people are most likely to have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of fraud in the past 12 months. A third (32%) of 18 to 34s have been victims compared to less than a fifth (18%) of 35 to 54-year-olds and 13% of over 55s.

TSB found that Brits overwhelmingly support proposals for their bank to guarantee refunds for losses to bank fraud, with 74% favouring this option.

Since 2019, TSB has pledged to reimburse customers who fall victim to any kind of banking fraud, and there are calls for other banks to make the same promise.

Across the banking industry, just 42.5% of funds lost to fraud are returned to the victim, compared to 98% at TSB.

Brits also supported proposals for all banks to publish their refund rate – with 72% backing the measure to let customers know how their bank performs on the issue of fraud refunds.

Debbie Crosbie, TSB chief executive, said: “The figures show the growing scale of the problem and sadly, the distress it causes is all too clear. Much more needs to be done to better protect people and for industry and government to work together to tackle this threat.”

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