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Scams and Fraud are already a Real Hazard for Financial Industry

Online scammers used fraudulent SMS about Covid-19 vaccinations, lockout penalties, and missing delivery deliveries to defraud UK customers out of a record £479 million last year.

According to data provided by UK Finance, the banking industry organization, there was a 5% yearly increase in money lost to “authorized fraud,” which occurs when clients inadvertently authorize payments to criminals.

Within this, there was a 94% surge in “impersonation scams,” in which criminals impersonating trustworthy organizations defrauded the public out of over £97 million.

Scammers have leveraged epidemic anxieties to mislead people into disclosing personal information, with phony messages and emails frequently used to gather data.

Links to bogus websites for vaccines or penalties for breaking lockdown regulations are two examples that UK Finance has encountered on a regular basis. With the development of internet shopping, fraudsters were able to target customers with bogus communications about missing parcel delivery, as well as homeworkers by impersonating software suppliers.

Financial scams accounted for the lion's share of approved fraud losses, with more than £135 million lost to more complex deceptions, which frequently included cloned websites of investment companies and private banks. According to UK Finance, the incidence of cryptocurrency fraud rose last year, with some victims convinced to submit additional money after receiving a "return" on their initial investment.

Financial institutions and companies were able to refund 43% (£206.9m) of sanctioned fraud losses to claimants, which is more than three-quarters greater than the amount returned in 2019, the year a voluntary industry guideline on reimbursement was implemented. 

It promises to reimburse "innocent victims" of sophisticated fraud efforts, but not all banks and payment companies have signed up to it, and UK Finance has conceded there are discrepancies in its application.

As Katy Worobec, UK Finance's managing director of economic crime, noted, "we are seeing an alarming increase in online and technology-enabled scams that circumvent banks' superior security measures and target victims directly by deceiving them into handing away their money or information."

In the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, we encourage the government to guarantee digital platforms take action to safeguard customers by taking down scam ads on search engines, deleting phony profiles on online dating services, and addressing misleading information on social media. "

Financial fraud – when payments are taken from accounts without the customer's consent - has been more successfully prevented by banks in 2020, with roughly seven out of every ten attempted fraud attempts being thwarted by banks. 

The amount of money lost dropped by 5% to £783.8m, with the banking industry preventing losses of £1.6bn.

The year before, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit closed down more than 700 social media profiles connected to financial fraud, of which more than 250 belonged to criminals who were recruiting "money mules" to launder the profits of crime through social media.

Out-of-work young people are being targeted by crooks through fraudulent internet job ads, it was discovered earlier this month. Money-launderers use "mule accounts" with banks and payment companies that are not members of the voluntary agreement to accept stolen funds, making it more difficult for police to retrieve the money.

Online Trading Scams

On the Internet and on social media, consumers should be careful of advertisements that promise large profits from online investment. Customers should always conduct more research on the product they are buying and the company they are contemplating investing with.

Financial Services Register should be checked by consumers before engaging with any company. Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is not available to them if they hire an unlicensed business, therefore they are unlikely to receive their money returned if something goes wrong. 

Virtual trading platforms, where scammers sell foreign currency, CFDs, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and overall are involved in the FX market, are increasingly targeting UK customers with investment schemes. Social media is often used to promote these events. Because of that, the UK plans to take new measures in order to make it easier to identify Forex scams and protect individuals from being victims of fraud. To attract individuals to participate in their schemes, fraudsters often promise huge profits and utilize false pictures of luxury products. After that, the advertisements connect to professional-looking web pages where customers are convinced to participate, either through a managed account where the business conducts trades on their behalf or by trading themselves on the firm's trading platform. They may even request that customers communicate with them privately in order to learn more and participate in the investment offer.

To create the appearance that their trading was successful, most consumers report getting some early returns from the business. Investors will then be urged to contribute additional money or to recommend a friend or family member to invest with them. Customer accounts are stopped and no further contact is made with a company once the returns halt.

A large number of scam businesses claim to be headquartered in the United Kingdom, and some even claim to be FCA-licensed. When in doubt, consumers should consult the FCA's registry.

The FCA has no authority to compel social media firms or search engines to delete fraudulent information. However, FCA encourages customers to report material directly to us as well as to social media firms or search engines. This gives us the ability to issue warnings and request that content be deleted.

Most customers say that they originally received some returns from the company to create the appearance that their trade was successful.

They will then be urged to invest additional money, but their account will be suspended and they will have no more communication with the business at this point or shortly after the returns halt.

Many scam businesses pretend to be headquartered in the United Kingdom and even to be FCA-approved.

Many fake trading and brokerage businesses will spoof the name, ‘firm registration number' (FRN), and address of FCA-authorized organizations and people. This is referred to as a 'clone business.'

Scammers then provide their own phone number, address, and website information, often alleging that a company's contact information on the Register is out of the current.

Scammers may also pretend to be a foreign company, which does not necessarily have their entire contact and website information published on the Register.

Scammers may even imitate an authorized firm's website, making minor modifications such as the phone number.

Before interacting with any business, you should verify the FCA listing of licensed firms. If they are not authorized by the FCA, it is most likely a fraud. You may also look at the Warning List of companies to avoid.

Always be careful if you are called unexpectedly, urged to invest fast, or offered rewards that appear too good to be true.

Before investing, you should carefully consider getting financial counsel or assistance. You should ensure that any firm with whom you engage is regulated by us, and you should never take investing advice from the company that contacted you since this might be part of the scam.

The Money Advice Service provides advice about investing as well as how to locate a financial consultant.

Banks VS Fraud

Fraud assaults on the global financial system are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and lenders are losing billions of dollars every year as a result. ACFE reports that companies lose about 5% of their yearly revenues to fraud. Given that the banking industry's total earnings amount to billions of dollars, the sheer magnitude of monies stolen through illegal activities cannot be overstated.

During the period of November 2018 to February 2019, KPMG Worldwide's Global Banking Fraud Survey was undertaken to gain a global perspective on how banks combat internal and external fraud risks. Thirteen are located in Asia-Pacific, five in the Americas, and twenty-five is in Europe and the Middle East. The study included 43 retail banks. At the time of the study, 18 of the banks had sales above $10 billion, and 31 had at least 10,000 employees worldwide. Most concerning is the speed at which fraud drains bank funds. "We found that fraud expenses are growing faster than fraud risk management budgets, according to our survey. This has to be done immediately," David Hicks, a global forensic leader at KPMG, said.

From 2015 to 2018, identity theft and account takeover were the most prominent increases among worldwide survey respondents, followed by cyber assaults, card-not-present fraud, and approved push payment frauds. Over half of respondents recovered less than 25% of fraud losses, underscoring the necessity of fraud detection and prevention in the early stages of the fraud lifecycle even further

Assumptions might have been made that technological developments and digital banking would aid in the battle against fraud. As a result, thieves are increasingly relying on this technology in order to perpetrate ever-more complex forms of fraud. Modern-day hackers can take advantage of the huge volume of digital banking transactions to defraud banking clients and steal their assets. Criminals can hide their fraudulent operations in the digital world, which is now home to millions of daily transactions. In fact, the KPMG poll revealed that banks in every area regarding cyber-attacks to be the most important fraud risk concern.

There are others who feel that too many lenders fail to adequately address the systemic causes of fraud, which leads to an increase in fraud cases that result in large losses. Of course, banks are well aware of the problem's scope and that it is likely to continue to expand, rather than lessen. It's still unclear if they're doing enough to alleviate this ongoing drain on their bottom line. Banks are investing in new fraud protection technology, according to the KPMG report, which acknowledged this fact. "Manual and analog environments'' are still prevalent in some banks, says Amount, a fintech startup that helps financial institutions rapidly digitize their financial infrastructures. This leaves even the largest banks vulnerable to high-level fraud assaults.

Unauthorized fraud losses in the financial services business in the United Kingdom will be averted by 2020, according to research by UK Finance, the trade group for the UK banking and financial services sector. The Banking Protocol, which was established in 2016 as a quick scam response plan, was also recognized in the study. The Banking Protocol teaches branch personnel to spot early warning signals of a scam being performed and to notify the police. Last year, the Protocol prevented frauds worth £45,3 million, and it is now being expanded to include possible internet and telephone banking scams. Over 100 fraudsters were arrested by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a unique joint Metropolitan/City of London police squad financed by the banking sector, throughout the course of the year.

But all indications are that lenders will have to work more to combat fraud in the future. As a result of directives like Open Banking, financial institutions will be more vulnerable to fraud if they are not effectively monitored and guarded. According to this theory, lenders must likewise modify their control methods when the banking industry merges with other businesses. To handle the fast-changing fraud risks associated with new types of digital banking, risk management skills must be enhanced as internet firms and financial services organizations increasingly join hands. Therefore, banks must use new technology to stay one step ahead of their criminal enemies, a job that is far more difficult to do than it may seem.

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Comments: (1)

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 20 August, 2021, 07:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The biggest problem is the ease at which fraudsters can open a bank account to receive their ill-gotten gains and immediately transfer the money elsewhere. Banks should be far more careful about allowing fraudsters to open accounts, but it seems that all banks are desperate for new accounts and cut corners when carrying out even the most basic checks.