Fraud costs the UK £30bn per year – equivalent to £621 per adult – according to official figures released today.
The data, which comes from the National Fraud Authority (NFA), suggests total losses from fraud are far higher than previously thought. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued a report in 2007 which suggested fraud loss in the UK stood at around £13bn.
However, the NFA’s study – called the Annual Fraud Indicator – takes into account fraud loss figures that were not previously available, as well as additional industry estimates. Its findings, based predominantly on data from 2008, will help the government identify which types of fraud cause most harm to the economy.
Public and private sector fraud
The NFA, which is part of the Attorney General’s Office, says 58% of fraud in 2008 took place in the public sector. The resulting £17bn losses include £15.2bn of losses from tax fraud.
The private sector was also hit hard, bearing 31% of total fraud losses.
The financial services industry was worst affected, losing £3.8bn in total. Mortgage fraud accounted for losses of £1bn, and insurance fraud cost the sector a further £2bn.
Credit and debit card fraud
£800m of financial services fraud losses were attributed to plastic card crime. According to NFA estimates, 0.1% of total transactions on credit and debit cards are fraudulent.
Which? Money editor James Daley commented: ‘Plastic card fraud is a growing threat, so it’s crucial we all take steps to protect ourselves from it. The Which? guide to beating identity fraud explains our top tips for keeping your card details safe.
‘If you bank online, it’s also important to consider how well your bank protects your personal details. Our 2009 review of online banking security tested the technology of several high street banks, and found some systems did far more to keep customers’ information safe than others.’
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