Brits Lose Over £1bn in Fraud So Far This Year

Brits have lost over £1bn to fraud and cybercrime in the first six months of 2021, according to money.co.uk’s latest Quarterly Fraud and Cyber Crime Report.

The analysis revealed that 81,018 fraud and cybercrime-related police reports were issued in Q2 2021, with UK residents experiencing a total loss of £382.3m due to these crimes. Interestingly, this represents a significant decrease compared with Q1 2021, when there were 137,695 reports. The personal finance advisory firm believes this decline is due to the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Q2, as this reduced online activities.

However, financial losses per average victim were £176 higher in Q2 compared to Q1, at £4719.

The most common type of fraud and cybercrime in Q2 was related to online shopping and auctions, comprising one in five police reports (14,868). Victims lost a total of £11.9m to these types of activities.

The number of reports fell by half compared to Q1, which could be due to the reopening of non-essential retail in Q2, thereby reducing the volume of e-commerce transactions. Average losses per victim were 29% higher in Q2 than Q1 (£800 vs. £618).

According to the report, crimes relating to financial investments, share sales, or boiler room fraud proved to be most costly to victims in Q2. A total of 1309 victims lost £35.8m to these activities in this period, equating to £26,585 per person.

Dating scam victims also experienced heavy losses, at £13,558 each on average.

Breaking down the figures by age, Brits aged 30-39 were most commonly hit by fraud and cybercrime, making up 13,172 reports and a total of £37m lost.

Elderly UK residents (aged 70 and above) were more likely to fall victim to computer software and other advance fee frauds than any other age category. This population lost £34.2m to these crimes in Q2, with an average of £6,118 lost per case.

James Andrews, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “Brits have lost more than £1bn as a result of fraudulent and cybercrimes, showing the extent fraudsters have taken advantage of online shoppers during the national lockdown.

“But it’s encouraging to see that cases have decreased significantly in the second quarter of the year, as life has started heading back towards normality. Still, with millions of pounds lost, it’s vital that individuals are aware of what they should be doing to protect themselves against fraudsters.”

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