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UK Financial Fraud Nears £400 Million

Financial fraud in the first half of the year reached £399.5 million and was driven mainly by online attacks, according to Financial Fraud Action UK.

The latest stats show an increase in fraud by 25% on the same period last year, when total losses stood at a little over £320 million.

Remote purchase fraud, which presumably is mainly e-commerce related, jumped by nearly a third (31%) to reach £224 million in the first half of 2016.

Financial Fraud Action UK claimed this is being driven by an ever-growing volume of breached card data turning up on the dark web and an increasing number of e-commerce sites to target.

When it comes to remote banking – online and by telephone – there was a slight increase in losses, from £66.2m in the first half of 2015 to £70.6m so far this year.

FFA UK is urging organizations to improve security in order to prevent the breaches that are fueling fraud.

It added that retailers should up investment in anti-fraud tools while users need to treat any unsolicited phone calls, texts and emails with suspicion and be wary of giving out personal details unless they know for sure who they’re talking to.

“If you are asked to transfer some money or provide your personal details and you think it could be a scam, take five minutes to think about what you are being asked to do,” advised Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit. “A genuine organization will not mind if you check who you are speaking to, because people are not always who they say they are.”

John Marsden, head of ID and fraud at credit reporting agency Equifax, argued that the financial industry needs to educate consumers and share fraud data internally in order to improve things.

“The focus must be two-fold. It is vital that any organization holding personal data continuously evolves the systems and processes in place to keep that information safe. Equally, any business handling financial transactions has to take every possible step to ensure the customer they are dealing with is genuine,” he added.

“It is clear that passwords alone are no longer enough, fraudsters are wise to our thinking when we create a password, making them all too easy to crack. This is why businesses need to invest in new technology like biometrics and device recognition creating multiple layers of defense. The criminals don’t stand still, and businesses of all sizes need to work hard to stay ahead.”

Just this week, Lloyds Banking Group announced the roll-out of new technology designed to reduce phone fraud at its call centers.

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