Over half of Brits have been targeted by fraud

The number of people searching online for ‘Fraud prevention’ has increased 22% this month. With a 17% increase in fraudulent activity year on year, there are more and more ways of becoming a victim of fraud.

With millions of Brits being affected by the current energy crisis and rising food costs, fraud is increasing across the UK. In fact, Citizens Advice reported that over half of the UK (40 million people) have been targeted by scammers during the cost of living crisis this year, a 14% increase since 2021.

Following on from their 2021 report, credit management company Lowell has conducted further research into fraud this year, and the results have shown the impact it has had on people across the UK.

Credit and debit fraud have affected two out of five Brits in 2022

Where, if anywhere, have you experienced fraud before? Select all that apply. 2022 2021
Debit, credit, and other payment card fraud 40% 18%
Internet banking fraud 18% 9%
Text message fraud 17% 8%
Mobile banking fraud 8% 6%
Cash machine fraud 9% 6%

Fraudulent activity is taking place throughout the UK and the ways in which Brits are being targeted is constantly changing. Fraud committed using a debit or credit card has impacted the most people in 2022 (40%), compared to 18% in 2021. Internet bank fraud (18%) and text fraud (17%) are also amongst the most common fraud methods, with one in 10 (10%) admitting they would likely click a link in a text claiming to be from their bank.

Brits believe the media and banks are trying to increase awareness around fraud

In 2021, 15% of Brits said they would not do any checks to guarantee a call from their bank was legitimate, compared to just 5% in 2022. Brits are becoming more conscious of fraud threats, with almost two in five (39%) believing they have seen more articles about fraud since 2021. 43% claim their bank has been raising more awareness around fraudulent activity, encouraging people to be as vigilant as possible.

Finding out about fraudulent activity and how to protect yourself

With reports of fraud being an ongoing issue across the UK, it is key that Brits know how to identify and report a scam.

The research revealed that over half (57%) of Brits use official banking and financial websites to find out about potential fraudulent risks, up from 42% in 2021. Whereas over two-fifths prefer news outlets (42%) or finding out through their family and friends (32%).

There was a 17% increase in fraud reported to the police in 2021 alone. If you are a victim of fraud, report the incident to your bank and the police straight away by contacting 111 or Action Fraud at 0300 123 2040.

There are also several ways you can protect yourself from cyber criminals including:

  • Always use strong passwords and ensure that you are not using the same password for each of your accounts
  • Scammers will usually offer a problem (act now or be fined thousands of pounds) or a prize (you’ve got a huge tax rebate waiting, click here). Be wary of both and stop to think if you have any involvement with the company. If you haven’t heard of the company, research them separately before clicking
  • Always log in to sites directly, rather than clicking on links in emails or texts. You can also see if the website is secure via the padlock next to the link. The browser will warn you if it isn’t, giving you a good indication that it is risky. Look out for the ‘s’ at the end of ‘https://’ in the URL for a clear indication the site is secure
  • Never give out personal information or send money to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Commenting on the findings, John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell, says: “It’s concerning to see the year-on-year comparison of how many people have been affected by fraudulent activity and the variety of different techniques that people are being targeted with. It really goes to show that the sophistication with which cyber criminals operate is increasing all the time – and we all need to be vigilant when it comes to protecting ourselves and vulnerable family members online.

“At Lowell, we want to raise awareness around potential fraudulent risks, to help people understand how they can protect themselves and avoid falling victim to fraudsters.

“We believe it is so important for consumers to feel empowered and in control of their finances. Here at Lowell, we are talking to customers daily and directing them to credible, trustworthy sources for support where it is needed. A range of independent and impartial support is available for anyone who is struggling with their finances, and a helpful list is available at our website.”