Online fraudsters make a fortune in the UK

Online fraudsters make a fortune in the UK

ONLINE FRAUD: Millions lost to scammers Photo credit: Pixabay/Terimakasih0

CONSUMERS in the UK lost £580 million (€665.12 million) to scammers in the first six months of 2023.

Overall, this was 2 per cent lower than during the same period last year, although the banking and finance sector association, UK Finance, which collates data for high street banks, warned that households will lose more than £1 billion (€1.15 billion) by the end of December.

Identity theft, where criminals steal personal information to take over an existing bank account or apply for a credit card, saw the biggest increase and rose by more than half to £33 million (€37.8 million) compared with the same six-month period last year.

Authorised push payment (APP) cases, where victims where are tricked into making online transfers for goods that never materialise, increased by 22 per cent to £239.3 million (€274.4 million) in personal and business losses.

Nevertheless, cases where criminals posing as a bank or the police persuaded members of public to transfer money into a supposedly secure online account fell by 35 per cent. Messages issued by the banks themselves insisting that they would never make this kind of request have begun to sink in, UK Finance said.

The association drew particular attention to a 29 per cent increase in “romance scams” where fraudsters conduct online relationships aimed solely at obtaining money, generally made in multiple payments, from targets who are often vulnerable and not particularly well-off.

Describing these stings as “particularly nasty” UK Finance found that victims lost £18.5 million (€21.2 million) between January and the end of June.

In UK Finance’s half-year report, Ben Donaldson, the association’s Economic Crime managing director pointed out that financial services were currently the only sector that reimbursed fraud victims.

“However, it is impossible to reimburse the human impact of these crimes,” he said.

“We must prevent it from happening in the first place.  The only way we will prevent fraud is if other sectors do much more to help us deal with the criminality which increasingly takes place on their platforms,” Donaldson added.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at