Brits Lose $9.3bn to Scams in a Year

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Around 10% of British adults have lost money to fraudsters over the past year, amounting to estimated losses of £7.5bn ($9.3bn), according to a new report.

Compiled by industry body the Global Anti-Scam Alliance (GASA) and non-profit anti-fraud organization Cifas, The State of Scams in the United Kingdom 2023 was produced from interviews with 2000 British citizens.

It revealed that 62% of respondents had received scam messages at least once per month over the past year, and over half (53%) claimed to have observed a “significant” increase in such missives. Most (64%) said they received the fraudulent messages via email and 56% via their phone.

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they didn’t report the scam to any authority although around a third (31%) sought help from financial institutions and law enforcement.

Read more on UK fraud: Advanced Fee Fraud Surges by Over 600%.

The large share of victims refusing to report fraud may be down in part to a failure in government and law enforcement action on such crimes.

The government is set to launch a revamped national fraud and cybercrime reporting center after criticism that Action Fraud is overwhelmed and under-resourced.

Fraud now comprises over half of all crimes in the UK, with the country last year branded the card fraud capital of Europe – at 134 cases per 1000 people.

Cifas CEO, Mike Haley, said scams have been surging on the back of the cost-of-living crisis.

“UK consumers continue to find themselves increasingly targeted by phishing and smishing campaigns offering financial help or investment opportunities, employment scams, fake adverts for rental properties as well as purchase and delivery scams,” he explained.

“So now more than ever, we need to ensure there is more, effective regulation of online platforms and recognise the serious harm that their fraudulent content is causing to consumers.”

Haley added that Cifas is campaigning for stricter regulation of online platforms and welcomed the passing of the new Online Safety Bill.

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