Customers given anti-scam tips as £2 million a day is lost to financial fraud


Around £2 million was lost to financial fraud each day of last year, according to a campaign encouraging people to pass on scam prevention tips to their friends and family.

The overall scale of financial fraud in 2016 was £768.8 million, an increase on the £755 million lost in 2015, Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), whose members include banks and card companies, said.

The losses include payment card and cheque fraud as well as remote banking fraud, which covers internet banking, telephone banking and mobile banking.

FFA UK's figures were released to coincide with Take Five Day on Thursday - a day of action during which staff in more than 6,800 bank branches will talk to customers about simple ways to protect against fraud. They will also encourage them to tell five other people about steps they can take.

The day is part of the Take Five campaign, which encourages people to pause for thought before doing something like replying to an unsolicited email or transferring money.

The campaign focuses on financial frauds directly targeting consumers, such as email deception known as phishing, phone-based scams known as vishing and scams using text messages known as smishing.

Such scams often involve a fraudster posing as a legitimate organisation such as their victim's bank or the police.

Scams often put pressure on people to act quickly to force them into doing something they would not ordinarily do, such as revealing bank account passwords and pins or transferring money to someone else.

Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), said: "On Take Five Day we are encouraging everyone to share the message that it's OK to stop and think before sharing any personal or financial details."

Research for the campaign has found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of people are worried about falling victim to financial fraud while more than two-thirds (68%) express the same concern about their families.

Despite this, seven in 10 (71%) have never discussed how to protect themselves against financial fraud with anyone. More than half (55%) believe it is too complicated a subject for a conversation.

Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK, said: "While the payments industry stops six in every 10 pounds of attempted fraud, it cannot solve the problem alone. Collective action is needed with banks, police and customers all playing their part.

"I hope today, on Take Five Day, customers will take the opportunity to find out how they can help better protect themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to financial fraudsters."

Here are some tips from the Take Five campaign:

:: Never disclose security details, such as your pin or full password.

:: Do not assume an email request or caller is genuine.

:: Do not be rushed - a genuine organisation like a bank will not mind waiting to give you time to stop and think.

:: Listen to your instincts - if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it.

:: Stay in control - have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.