Bank account fraud on the rise

The Uk’s fraud prevention service, CIFAS, has warned that bank account fraud is on the rise. It was the most common type of fraud recorded during the first four months of 2014 by organisations that share data through CIFAS.

Not only has bank account fraud increased 48 per cent from the same period of 2013, but the scale of some types of fraud — in particular the fraudulent misuse of an account — underlines that consumers must be more aware of the legal consequences of fraudulent use of their accounts.

The increase in bank account fraud was driven by a shocking 54 per cent increase in the fraudulent misuse of bank accounts.

Over half of all misuse of bank account frauds related to an individual allowing his/her account to receive false, fraudulent or criminal funds — a fraud with frequent obvious links to other forms of organised criminality, like money laundering.

Organised criminals have long been known to target people who are short of money and during recent years of economic uncertainty, CIFAS says it is ‘unsurprising that some people’s financial situation influenced their decision to allow their accounts to receive stolen funds.’

CIFAS warns that such actions constitute a serious criminal offence and the consequences can involve the withdrawal of bank account services from the account holder.

Simon Dukes, CIFAS Chief Executive, comments: “Banks are legally obliged to report and shut down accounts that are used to transfer criminal funds — in order to prevent money simply being transferred elsewhere to fund other criminality.

As a result, organised criminals are known to recruit people as ‘money mules’. What these figures demonstrate is that the message needs to be repeated: under no circumstances must you allow your account to be used to receive and send funds from or to people you do not know.”

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