Financial crime has existed long before the invention of monetary currency and can be traced back to our ancestral barter economy. If someone knowingly traded in faulty goods, didn’t fulfil a promised obligation or stole another person’s assets – they could be accused of committing what we would call fraud today.
The methods people use to commit financial crime may have changed over time but the impact it can have on businesses, individuals and entire economies is still as damaging as ever. As we become ever more reliant on technology for our financial service needs, our desire for speed and efficiency means that spotting cyber criminals and online fraudsters can be difficult.
We take look at the some of the most common financial crime scams in the UK; how to spot them and how to protect yourself and your customers.
Impersonation scams occur when criminals impersonate trusted organisations to try and trick victims into handing over money or personal details. Examples of organisations used in impersonation scams can include the Police, your bank, utility companies or governmental department such as HMRC.
The tactics employed in impersonation scams tend to involve the use of email, SMS, social media or phone calls that used cloned company IDs and contact details. These techniques seek to provoke a reaction from the customer and fool them into believing the messages are legitimate.
This type of fraud, more commonly known as bank transfer fraud, occurs when an individual is tricked into sending money to an account controlled by a criminal. Statistics published by UK Finance show that APP fraud cases increased by 22% in 2020, amounting to total losses of £479 million.
Credit and debit card fraud has existed since the products were introduced to the market. However, as we have transitioned to a card first economy the frequency of cases has increased. The simplest definition of unauthorised payment fraud means that the account holder themselves hasn’t given permission for a payment to be made using their account details.
If you think you've been the victim of a scam or fraud, the first thing to do is contact the financial business/organisation as soon as possible. The sooner they know what's happened, the sooner they can try to protect your money. The UK Financial Ombudsman Service also recommends that any fraud cases are reported to Action Fraud - the UK’s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
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