Deception scams drive increase in financial fraud

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1 ADDRESS 2 Thomas More Square London E1W 1YN WEBSITE DIRECT LINE NEWS RELEASE Deception scams drive increase in financial fraud - For immediate release 17 March Financial fraud losses totalled 755 million in 2015, according to figures published today by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), a 26 per cent increase on the previous year. The data highlights the increasing threat posed by impersonation and deception scams, alongside the growth in sophisticated online attacks such as data breaches and malware, showing the importance of protecting personal information. The figures also reveal that bank and card company security systems detected and prevented a total of 1.76 billion of fraud from occurring in 2015 equivalent to 7 in 10 of potential fraud being stopped. The 2015 financial fraud figures show: Fraud losses on UK payment cards totalled million in 2015, an 18 per cent increase from 479 million in the previous year. A total of million of attempted card fraud was prevented by banks and card companies equivalent to 6 in every 10 of fraud being stopped. Over 2015, card spending increased by 7 per cent, meaning card fraud as a proportion of spending equates to 8.3p for every 100 spent. Remote banking fraud losses totalled million, a 72 per cent rise from 98.2 million in A total of million of attempted remote banking fraud was stopped by bank security systems, equivalent to 8 in 10 of fraud being prevented. Cheque fraud losses totalled 18.9 million in 2015, a 6 per cent fall from 20.2 million in 2014, and the lowest ever annual total. A total of million of attempted cheque fraud was prevented by bank security systems, equivalent to 9.50 in every 10 of fraud being prevented. The full fraud figures, including breakdowns by fraud type, are available in the statistical bulletin here. Katy Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, said: Banks work extremely hard to protect their customers, using highly sophisticated security systems which stopped 70 per cent of attempted fraud from occurring last year. Any increase in fraud is unwelcome but the industry is continually evolving its response to fraud as it develops. This includes investing in new detection and verification tools, working with law enforcement and educating customers of dangers. With the continued rise in impersonation scams and data breaches it s vital that all customers are alert to the dangers. Everyone should be very cautious about giving out personal or financial information, and organisations holding data need to do all they can to protect people s private details. The key drivers of the changing fraud figures during 2015 were:

2 Impersonation and deception scams in which criminals approach customers claiming to be from a trusted organisation, such as a bank, the police, a utility company or a government department. The criminals aim to obtain personal and financial details that will then be used to commit fraud. These scams often involve a phone call, text message or claiming there has been suspicious activity on a customer s account or that their account details need to be updated or verified. Criminals also attempt to trick people into transferring money directly to them. Criminals use of information gained through data breaches. There have been several high profile breaches reported in 2015, as well as many other smaller-scale attacks. The stolen data is used to commit fraud directly, for example using stolen payment card details online to commit remote purchase fraud. Other information obtained through a breach may be used in impersonation scams, while the publicity around the incident itself can be used to add authenticity to the scammers approach. The use of malware [malicious software which is unknowingly downloaded onto a computer] and phishing s to compromise customers security and personal details. The industry is continuing to tackle financial fraud by: Investing in new, innovative security tools, including ever more sophisticated ways of authenticating customers, such as using biometrics and customer behaviour analysis. Working with government and law enforcement in the new Joint Fraud Taskforce, launched by the Home Secretary in February 2016, to use the collective powers, systems and resources of government, law enforcement and industry to crack down on financial fraud. Fully sponsoring a specialist police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, which has launched a project specifically focussed on cybercrime. Developing a national multi-sector awareness campaign to educate customers on how they can protect themselves from fraud. To help fight the rise in impersonation and deception scams, FFA UK is urging customers to be vigilant of any unsolicited phone calls, text messages and s and to be extremely cautious about giving out any personal and security information unless absolutely sure they know who they are dealing with. Customers are reminded that their bank or the police will never call them to ask for their online banking passwords or 4-digit card PIN, or to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons. With fraudsters using stolen information gained through data breaches to commit fraud and aid deception scams, FFA UK is also urging all organisations that hold personal and financial data to improve their security systems in order to prevent data breaches. FFA UK is also reminding retailers selling remotely that there are a number of tools they can use to build up a profile of their customer, verify the cardholder and ensure they receive payment securely. Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer for the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, said: Criminals will do all they can to make their approach seem genuine, so it s important to be vigilant. Don t take someone at their word people aren t always who they claim to be, even if they know a bit of information about you already. If you receive a call, text or out of the blue asking for your personal information, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust such as the one on the back of your bank card or from the official website.

3 - ENDS - Advice to customers to avoid becoming a fraud victim: Be aware of the advice in the Joint Declaration of UK Banks, that your bank or the police will never: o Phone you to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad. o Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping. o Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name. o Send someone to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book if you are a victim of fraud. o Ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe-keeping. Ensure you have the most up-to-date security software installed on your computer, including anti-virus. Some banks offer free security software: check your bank s website for details. Only shop on secure websites. Before entering card details ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser. Always be suspicious of unsolicited s that are supposedly from a reputable organisation, such as your bank or the tax office and do not click on any links in the . Make sure you are the only person who knows the PIN for your card. Shield the PIN with your free hand whenever you type it into a keypad in a shop or at a cash machine. Check your bank and card statements for unusual transactions. If you spot any let your bank or card company know as soon as possible. Rip up or preferably shred statements, receipts and documents that contain information relating to your financial affairs when you dispose of them. Some banks offer paperless statements. When writing a cheque make sure you draw a line through all unused space on the payee line and the amount line to help prevent the cheque being fraudulently altered. Advice to businesses on how to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of remote purchase fraud: Ask your bank or card processor about the online protection offered by card schemes, such as Verified by Visa, SecureCode by MasterCard and American Express Safe Key, which help make transactions over the internet safer from the threat of fraud. Know your customer: assess a customer s profile, order and delivery details before accepting a transaction. Be wary of high value or unusual orders from customers you do not know, particularly if the product is easily resalable. Use the banking industry s Address Verification Service, which compares the delivery address provided for the order with the billing address details for the payment card held by the card issuer. Maintain a record of fraudulent accounts and transactions to prevent further breaches fraudsters will continue to attack businesses until the window of opportunity is closed. For further information please contact the press office on or Notes to editors:

4 1. Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) is responsible for leading the collective fight against fraud in the UK payments industry. Its membership includes the major banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card payment acquirers. Through industry collaboration FFA UK seeks to be the authoritative leader in defending consumers and businesses from financial fraud, by creating the most hostile environment in the world for fraudsters. FFA UK s primary role is to drive collaborative action to reduce the impact of financial fraud and scams both across the industry, and with partners in the public sector, private sector, and law enforcement. It operates its own data and intelligence sharing bureau and sponsors a fully operational police unit. FFA UK works in partnership with The UK Cards Association in developing and delivering fraud strategy on credit debit and charge cards, and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company on credit clearing and cheque fraud. Follow us on Visit us on Facebook 2. The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a unique pro-active police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between Financial Fraud Action UK, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is fully sponsored by the cards and banking industries, with an on-going brief to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It is headed up by a Detective Chief Inspector and comprises officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators and support staff. 3. FFA UK publishes the full fraud statistics reported by its members twice yearly. The figures cover payment card, remote banking and cheque fraud losses. As of 2015, all fraud loss figures, unless otherwise indicated, are now reported as gross. These represent the value of fraud including any funds subsequently recovered by a bank. 4. The Cheque & Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) is the industry body that manages the cheque clearing system in Great Britain, including the processing of bankers drafts, building society cheques, postal orders, warrants and government payable orders. Its wide remit covers the management of the systems for clearing paper bank giro credits, euro-denominated cheques and US Dollar cheques. C&CCC shares information with Financial Fraud Action UK regarding fraudulent activity in the cheque and credit clearing world. More information about The Cheque & Credit Clearing Company is available at 5. The UK Cards Association is the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK, representing financial institutions which act as card issuers and acquirers. Members of the Association account for the vast majority of debit and credit cards issued in the UK - issuing in excess of 55 million credit cards and 95 million debit cards - and cover the whole of the payment card acquiring market. The Association promotes co-operation between industry participants in order to progress non-competitive matters of mutual interest; informs and engages with stakeholders to shape legal and regulatory developments; develops industry best practice; safeguards the integrity of the card payments industry by

5 tackling card fraud; develops industry standards; and co-ordinates other industry-wide initiatives such as those aiming to deliver innovation. As an Association we are committed to delivering a card payments industry that is constantly focused on improved outcomes for the customer. More information about The UK Cards Association is available at

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