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Money.co.uk reveals Brits lost £593 million through fraud in Q2 2023

Source: Money.co.uk

New figures released in the updated 2023 Fraud Report from the credit card experts at money.co.uk, which analyses police figures to reveal where in the UK has seen the biggest rise in fraud and cyber crime, show that reports of fraudulent attacks have increased yet again.

Cyber crime has been dominating the headlines in recent years as fraudsters become more sophisticated in their attacks. Successful criminals are stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from just a single intrusion in some cases.

Our latest update to the Money.co.uk Fraud and Cyber Crime Report reveals that there has been a rise of 1,407 cases of fraudulent activity in April, May and June, in comparison to the first three months of the year, at a cost of £593 million.

This takes the total fraudulently stolen cash to almost 3 and a half billion pounds in the past 12 months.

The money.co.uk credit card experts explain how you can protect yourself from fraud when online shopping with a credit card thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Be sure to compare credit cards to check for any additional protections.

2023’s Quarterly fraud and cybercrime figures
Number of reported cases:
Q1 2023: 85,171
Q2 2023: 86,578

Fraud and Cyber Crime was very slightly up from the previous quarter in April 2023 to June 2023, with 86,578 crimes recorded. Losses were up slightly - around £593 million compared to the previous quarter’s almost £527 million.

What were the most common cases of fraud and cyber crime in the UK in 2022-23?

Of crimes classified into a category, investment fraud came out on top for the last three months as the most financially damaging type of fraud with total losses from April to June adding up to £135.2 million, at a similar level to the previous quarter in terms of the amount and number of cases.

Investment fraud refers to a range of deceptive practices where fraudsters induce individuals into making purchases based on false or misleading information.

The most common type of fraud in Q2 of 2023 was consumer fraud, with more than 31,000 cases totalling £93 million in losses, which is a drop of around 13 million compared to the Q1 losses (though the number of cases remained roughly the same).

Consumer fraud includes any losses incurred by an individual or group of customers due to deceptive business practices, and includes online shopping fraud, which accounts for more than £14 million worth of losses in the UK in the last quarter of 2023 alone. Online shopping fraud accounted for more than 20% of all fraud and cybercrime reports in the quarter.

Public sector fraud saw a notable uptick this quarter, with more than £50 million worth of losses due to pension fraud alone.

Who has been the most impacted by fraud and cyber crime?

Those aged 30-39 were targeted the most by fraud and cyber crimes in Q2 of 2023, with those aged 20-29 not far behind. Individuals younger than 70 were most commonly victims of online shopping and auctions fraud (excluding uncategorised crimes).

Older age groups more commonly experienced crimes in the categories of computer software service fraud, advance fee fraud, cheque/card fraud, and door to door sales fraud.

Computer software service fraud involves criminals posing as legitimate software companies such as Microsoft, calling you to tell you there’s a problem with your computer in order to gain access to your private information or hold you to ransom and commit fraud. Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

Where have crimes increased the most quarter to quarter

The report also looked into police force figures to understand which parts of the UK have experienced a significant change in fraud figures.

In the second quarter of 2023, Northamptonshire saw the biggest rise in the number of reported crimes for a mainland UK police force - figures rose by over 22% - with the total value of losses of over £4 million. Other forces that saw big increases in Q2 included Warwickshire (9%) and Leicestershire (8%).

6 of the 45 mainland forces saw rises of more than 5%, while only 10 saw drops of more than 5% - these included Humberside (13%), Sussex (8%) and Police Scotland (8%)

James Andrews, money.co.uk credit card expert, said:

“Cyber crimes have cost Brits nearly £4 billion in the past year. This is a reminder for us how important it is to protect our digital data and be more vigilant when making purchases online.
“Using a credit card to pay for purchases gives you extra protection when shopping online. If you pay for even part of an item costing between £100 and £30,000 using your credit card, then you get extra protection from your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

“This allows you to claim a refund from your credit card provider if the selling merchant can’t be contacted or denies any wrongdoing.

“Making sure you have up to date antivirus software on your computer, phone and tablet can also help protect yourself from cyber attacks.

“Ensuring online accounts have a strong password is another important step towards cyber security. Spelling out a memorable phrase using a mix of numbers, symbols, and acronyms is generally effective e.g T3rRy550c1alMed!Ac1234 (Terrys Social Media Account) You can do this to customise for each site.

“Make your passwords as long as possible while still memorable and use lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and symbols in every password. If you’re worried about forgetting them, you can use a password manager.

“Finally, as a rule of thumb, banks and other official bodies will never request details such as credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone or email.

“If you do find yourself in a position where you have unexpectedly lost money, it is important that your bank is made aware of this as soon as possible.”

Six ways to protect yourself against fraudsters online

Website address
It is easy to miss even the smallest details when shopping online, but simply checking a site URL can save shoppers from scams. Fake or spammy sites attempt to look as convincing as possible to seem similar to a website that you may often use. Such methods include replacing a letter with a close looking one or missing out a letter that may be hard to spot.
Shoppers should also watch out for websites that are represented through ‘.net’ or ‘.org’. These aren’t usually used for online shopping- ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ are much more common.

Website content
While there are often great opportunities for discounts online, some product descriptions can be misleading or very different from what is advertised. If you are purchasing from a website as opposed to a third-party site, browse around to discover if the site is genuine. Usually, websites with counterfeit products will look less professional, with poor quality and unoriginal photos.
Additionally, pay attention to how the site is written. If you see lots of spelling or grammatical errors, it’s likely it’s been put together in a hurry by someone looking to make a quick buck.

Secure your wifi network and keep devices up to date
Your wireless network is the hub that connects your devices. To protect it from hackers, you can encrypt it and change your default passwords regularly. Also, be sure to keep your browser, malware software and operating system up to date; you can turn on automatic updates to keep on top of this and benefit from the latest protections.

Payment methods
Most legitimate online retailers should allow you to pay by debit or credit card. You may also be offered the ability to pay using a known, reliable online method like PayPal. PayPal can be a good option as scammers will not be able to get hold of your bank details. Never pay by bank transfer when spending online, and especially not into someone's bitcoin or other cryptocurrency wallets, and check out the returns policy as well.
Website details

A quick and simple way to check you are browsing on a safe site is to look next to the URL. Make sure you are using an https:// or secure server internet connection. If the website has a padlock next to it, the website is usually secure. However, there are occasions where spammers buy a padlock for their site, so ensure you check out other elements of the website too.

Protect your purchases
If you pay by credit card when shopping online, you have extra protection for items costing between £100 and £30,000, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means you can speak to your credit card company about getting a refund if you run into a problem with your purchase that has not been dealt with well by the retailer.

If you paid for your purchases using a debit card and then encountered problems, you might also be able to get help from your current account provider. You can do this by making a Chargeback claim. Policies such as the chargeback scheme, means you are covered if a purchase is in bad condition when it arrives, or doesn’t arrive at all.

Money.co.uk analysed fraud and cyber crimes reported to Action Fraud. Data was taken from the interactive dashboard on 14 June 2023 (https://colp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/0334150e430449cf8ac917e347897d46) and filtered according to the dates specified within the report.

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