Online Fraud Remains Prominent Threat

A recent report has indicated that banks are not doing enough to target online fraud, despite it being the most prevalent crime in England and Wales.

According to the Public Accounts Committee, an estimated 2 million incidents of cyber-related fraud occurred last year, amounting to an approximate cost of £10 billion. However, given that just 20% of this kind of crime is reported, this figure is likely to be much more significant.

Whilst it’s clear that awareness has grown during recent years, along with advances in digital technology and innovation, the report draws attention to the opportunities that this has also created for online crime.

The Committee brands the previous and ongoing campaigns to target the fraud as ineffective, urging both banks and the government to take action.

“Banks need to take more responsibility and work together to tackle this problem head on. Banks now need to work on information sharing so that customers are offered more protection from scams.

“Campaigns to educate people and keep them safe online have so far been ineffective, supported by insufficient funds and resources. The Department must also ensure that banks are committed to developing more effective ways of tackling card not present fraud and that they are held to account for this and for returning money to customers who have been the victims of scams.”

It also highlighted the need for awareness among consumers to be improved, particularly in relation to keeping safe online and dismissing victim stereotypes; these it said can act as significant barriers to fraud prevention.

“Many people are still not aware of best practice for keeping safe online and there is more to do to help citizens’ and businesses improve their cyber security. The City of London Police stressed the importance of investing time in prevention and the education of the public. Age UK told us there was huge scope to do much more to help prevent people from being victims, stressing also the importance of making sure people who have been victims in the past do not become victims again.”

Where conveyancing is concerned, cases of transactions being intercepted by email modification fraud are continuing to hit the headlines, resulting in home movers losing sometimes thousands of pounds.

These cases, along with this report, indicate the ongoing risk of fraud, and the need to remain vigilant to ensure client money is protected.

The report from the Public Accounts Committee can be accessed here.

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