Fraud decrease serves as vindication and warning says CIFAS

The analysis of fraud trends during 2013 by CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service reveals a surprising mix of apparently good and equally alarming news about fraud.

Overall, fraud levels decreased in 2013 by 11 percent from the levels recorded in 2012 – the first year on year drop since 2010 – but fraud remains at a much higher rate than in pre-recessionary times. The decrease, however, is proof of the positive preventative impact of counter fraud measures such as data sharing. While there are some alarming fluctuations within the fraud figures, the most notable findings are: Over 221,000 confirmed frauds were identified during 2013. While this is an 11 percent decrease from the previous few years, the level is still higher than fraud levels recorded in 2008 and 2010. Identity crimes – where fraudsters use a person’s identity data to impersonate them (identity fraud) or hijack an individual’s existing account (facility takeover fraud) – still accounted for over 60 percent of all frauds. Over 125,000 individual instances of an identifiable person becoming victim to fraud. Some startling variations from 2012 have occurred in terms of the products targeted by fraudsters: frauds against mail order and bank accounts have experienced sizeable decreases, while loan and plastic card (e.g. store and credit cards) accounts have seen notable surges. Plastic cards are now the product most commonly targeted by fraudsters (up by 24 percent from the levels of 2012 and accounting for 30 percent of all confirmed fraud in 2013).

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