Number of impersonation fraud cases rises, according to new UK Finance report

May 22nd 2024

UK Finance has today released its 2024 Annual Fraud Report, detailing the amount its members reported as stolen through payment fraud and scams in 2023. One of the headline statistics in the report concerns authorised push payment (APP) fraud, where criminals trick their victims into sending them money by impersonating somebody they trust.

  • 76% of APP fraud started online and 16% started through telecommunications networks.

APP fraud losses were down 5% compared to last year at £459.7million – comprising £376.4million of personal losses and £83.3million of business losses. However, the total number of APP cases was up 12% to 232,429. The main driver behind this is purchase scams, where people are tricked into paying for goods that never materialise. The total number of these cases rose 34% to over 156,000, while the amount lost rose 28% to £85.9 million making it the highest loss and case total ever recorded. Purchase scams account for 67% of the total number of APP cases.

The number of romance scams, where victims are tricked into believing they are in a relationship, also reached its highest highs in terms of losses and cases, which were up by 17% (to £36.5million) and 14% respectively.

The number of fraud cases where criminals impersonate a bank or the police and convince someone to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ fell by 37% and the amount lost to this type of fraud fell by 28%. There has been significant investment made in warning consumers that a bank will never ask someone to transfer money in this way.


APP fraud losses continued to be driven by the abuse of online platforms and telecommunications. Not only do criminals take advantage of these platforms to encourage the transfer of money through investment, romance or purchase scams but criminals also use scam phone calls, text messages and emails to trick people into handing over personal details and passwords.

Typically, criminals first focus their attempts on socially engineering personal information from their victims with a view to committing APP fraud in which the victim makes the payment themselves. If this is not successful, the criminal often has enough personal information to enable them instead to impersonate their victims, with a view to either taking control of their existing accounts or applying for credit cards in their name.

Ben Donaldson, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Nearly £1.2 billion was stolen from customers in 2023 and the criminals who commit these crimes destroy lives and damage our society.

“The money stolen funds serious organised crime and victims often suffer emotional damage as fraud is a pernicious and manipulative crime.

“The financial services industry remains at the forefront of efforts to protect customers, prevent fraud and support those who fall victim. With reimbursement rules set to change we risk even more money getting into criminal hands, unless the technology and telecommunication sectors take proper action to stop the fraud that proliferates on their platforms and networks.”

Written by

Tim Mitchell

In partnership with