Online banking fraud losses have shown a substantial increase in the last twelve months, according to new figures released by Financial Fraud Action UK this week.
The losses totalled £21.6 million during January to June 2012 – an increase of 28% on the 2011 half-year figure. This has been driven by a huge increase in the number of phishing websites set up by criminals as part of a scam to trick customers into visiting these fake websites and disclosing their online banking login details. Losses in this area also reflect the trend in card fraud, with deception scams resulting in increases. Online banking customers are being tricked into divulging their online login details and passwords over the phone to someone they believe is from their bank – but is actually a fraudster.
In the same period, phone banking fraud losses fell to £6.7 million (a 21 per cent decrease) during January to June 2012. This reduction is partly due to the fact that criminals are focusing their efforts on fraudulently accessing accounts online rather than over the phone.
DCI David Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), the special police squad which is sponsored by the banking industry and has an ongoing brief to help stamp out organised payment fraud across the UK, said: “This increase is due to organised criminal gangs committing straightforward frauds, and our focus remains on targeting those responsible and bringing them to justice. And given this rise in old fashioned crimes – criminals using distraction techniques and duping people into disclosing their passwords and online banking details – we are urging everyone to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal activity. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email you and ask you for your full login details, cards or PINs. If anyone does, hang up the phone or delete the email.”