UK Finance warns of heightened fraud risks during coronavirus pandemic
UK Finance is urging customers to be aware of criminals exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud.
UK Finance says criminals will use the publicity around coronavirus as a chance to pose as a genuine organisation, including banks, police officers, government, the World Health Organisation or other health service providers.
This follows a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre that criminals are exploiting fears over the coronavirus outbreak to target victims online.
Fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or social media posts often claim to be able to help customers by providing a safe haven for their money, investment opportunities or even provide medical guidance. Using coronavirus as a cover story, the criminal will then attempt to get recipients to disclose personal or financial information or click on links that may contain malware which they will then use for their own fraudulent purposes.
UK Finance figures show that the banking and finance industry stopped over £1.8 billion of fraud in 2019, up 9% on the previous year. Unauthorised fraud losses fell to £825 million, down 2% compared to 2018.
However, authorised push payment (APP) fraud losses rose to £456 million in 2019, up from £354 million in 2018, driven in part by criminals abusing online platforms to scam their victims. UK Finance is calling for cross-sector approach to tackling fraud alongside legislation to combat the abuse of online platforms by criminals.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “The banking and finance industry is taking action on all fronts to protect its customers from fraud and crack down on the criminal gangs responsible. The introduction of the voluntary Code last May has meant more victims of authorised push payment fraud are receiving compensation, particularly in cases involving higher value losses and more sophisticated scams.
“However, criminal gangs are continuing to exploit online platforms to target customers directly and trick them into handing over their money or information. This shows why fraud and other economic crime should be included within the new regulatory framework for online harms, to ensure all sectors play their part in tackling the threat posed by fraud to our society. Only by working in partnership with the public sector and other industries can we protect innocent victims and prevent money getting into the hands of criminals.
“We would also urge the public to be vigilant against criminals using the publicity around the coronavirus as a chance to target their victims with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or social media posts.”
Source: Financial Reporter