CIFAS Report – Fraud continues ‘inexorable’ rise in the UK as new annual figures show 6% increase

  • Identity fraud reaches record highs, with plastic cards and online retail hardest hit
  • Over 60s and under 21s increasingly targeted age groups, seeing significant increases in victims
  • Just under 190,000 cases of identity fraud reported in 2018 – an unprecedented amount

Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, today paints an alarming picture of fraud in the UK with the release of Fraudscape, the annual publication of its data that identifies and analyses the country’s fraud trends based on 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018. The data, from over 470 organisations, including major UK brands from across the sectors, is one of the most comprehensive pictures of fraud and fraudulent attempts in the UK.

With an overall increase of 6% in cases recorded by Cifas members, the new figures show significant areas of concern.

Key findings from the Cifas’ annual report Fraudscape include:

Identity fraud reach record highs with plastic cards taking the brunt of the fraud. Identity fraud significantly increased in 2018, with 189,108 cases recorded an 8% increase on 2017’s figures. Plastic cards were hit the hardest with 82,608 reports of fraud, up 41% from 2017. More fraud means more victims – 19 out of 20 frauds involved a victim left to pick up the pieces.

Cifas reports increases in identity fraud across all age groups but particularly the young and old. Victims aged 21 and under rose 26%, while the over-60s saw an alarming 34% increase on the previous year. As older people are more likely to be approved for credit and their online presence grows, fraudsters are increasingly targeting them online: in 2018 more than 33,000 over-60s were the victim of identity fraud.

Cases which are indicative of money mule activity are up across the board with a 26% increase from 2017, and Cifas has seen a steep incline in those aged 40- 60 becoming involved in such activity, increasing 35%.  This illustrates that being drawn into such criminality is not a problem limited to younger generations.

Chief Executive Officer of Cifas, Mike Haley, says:
“Fraud in the UK continues to rise and fraudsters are constantly finding new methods of committing fraud. From identity theft through to using the young and naïve as money mules to launder money, the economic and social harm to the nation is growing. The only way to fight the threat is to combine communication and collaboration, working together to present a united front against the perpetrators. As no one can expect to deliver effective defense against ever-present threats without the full picture, Fraudscape is a crucial weapon in fraud prevention, allowing us to see where the current attacks are coming from and where future dangers lie.’


How a ransomware attack cost one firm £45m

When malicious hackers disable your business and demand a ransom, should you pay up? Many firms do out of desperation, turning to intermediaries to help broker the deal. But law enforcement says this just makes things worse.

Imagine the excitement when hackers gained a foothold in the computer system of Norsk Hydro, a global aluminium producer.

We don’t know when it was, but it’s likely that once inside they spent weeks exploring this group’s IT systems, probing for more weaknesses.

When they eventually launched their ransomware attack, it was devastating – 22,000 computers were hit across 170 different sites in 40 different countries.


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And the industry sector most vulnerable to cyber attacks goes to… (drum-roll, please!)… Finance

After a short hiatus, finance has returned as the most attacked industry sector in the EMEA, mainly thanks to web application attacks, says research

According to the NTT Security‘s 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report, the finance industry in EMEA accounted for 30% of all attacks – compared to 17% globally, reinforcing its vulnerability to cybercrime.

As such, finance has knocked business and professional services off the top spot, which was last year’s most attacked sector at 20%.


Tens of thousands of fraud victims are being failed by police as officers routinely drop probes because the crime ‘doesn’t bang, bleed or shout’

Fraud victims are being betrayed by police who fail to investigate tens of thousands of swindlers.

Officers routinely drop probes into bank scams, which cost the UK £190billion a year, because the crime does not ‘bang, bleed or shout’, a damning report has warned.

Incredibly, one force dropped 96 per cent of cases it received from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – even though some had good evidence, including identified suspects, said the police watchdog.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said some forces were deliberately ‘seeking reasons’ not to investigate, with teams set up to ‘suppress demand’, effectively a form of rationing of police services.


Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs)

Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs) launched

Today (5th March 2019) saw the launch of the Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs).

Economic Crime has a significant impact on the UK economy; with an estimated 3.24 million fraud offences taking place year ending March 2018 (Office of National Statistics 2018).  These new awards serve to reward and acknowledge those who make a significant contribution in driving out any area of Economic Crime, such as fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption.

The TECAs are independent – with all the leading associations and groups supporting the awards including:

  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
  • Cabinet Office
  • Centre for Counter Fraud Studies, University of Portsmouth
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • City of London Police
  • Fraud Advisory Panel
  • Insurance Fraud Bureau
  • London Fraud Forum
  • North East Fraud Forum
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • UK Finance

The high-status judges are nominated by these groups and include, Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM; Katy Worobec, Managing Director, Economic Crime at UK Finance; Professor Mark Button of the University of Portsmouth and many others – they mark to a strict ethics policy.

Professor Martin Gill founder of the TECAs commented: “The TECAs have been developed to be different; to be independent, ethical and to provide a level playing field. They focus on outstanding people, teams, initiatives and companies within the public, private and third sectors – committed to tackling any area of economic crime.”

Gill further added: “The judging process is rigorous and robust, and the esteemed panel of judges will review and score entries independently, ensuring that only the very best are selected as finalists and winners.”

The TECAs will be presented a prestigious awards dinner to be held in central London on Monday, 9th December 2019.  The inaugural awards are sponsored by fraud technology provider Altia-ABM and COO, Rob Sinclair commented:

“We are proud to be associated with this initiative and delighted to be sponsoring the 2019 awards.  Economic Crime has an impact on everyone, and those who have shown leadership and innovation to desist this area of crime deserve to be recognised for their achievements.”

Entry to the awards will open on 2nd April 2019 and anyone working in, or from the UK can enter – with nominations invited in fourteen categories.

More information about the TECAs can be found at //

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