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Cost of fraud to UK surpasses £1 billion in 2016

Resurgence in ‘super cases’ doubles average fraud loss

Man receiving a nuisance call

The cost of fraud to the UK rose to more than £1bn in 2016, partly driven by a surge in cyber-crime.

According to KPMG’s Fraud Barometer, the total value of fraud in the UK soared 55% to a total of £1.14bn last year.

This is the first time the cost of fraud has risen above £1bn for five years, despite the number of cases dropping by nearly a third last year.

The barometer highlighted a 1,266% jump in cyber fraud, which reached £124m in 2016.

It also highlighted seven ‘super cases’ worth more than £50m occurring in the year, which caused the average fraud-loss value in such cases to more than double, from £2.4m to £5.2m.

Read our advice on how to report a scam.

Cyber-fraud scams getting bigger

A case last year was described by police as one of the biggest cyber-fraud scams ever investigated in the UK.

It involved cold callers, pretending to be members of bank fraud departments, persuading some 750 victims to reveal security details.

Phone scammers will often cold call you to try to get valuable personal data from you that they can then use to steal your identity or money.

It’s not always easy or obvious to tell it’s a scam at first, but you should always be wary of giving out any bank details. 

Read our top tips for detecting scams.

More protection required

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal services, said: ‘Today’s figures are yet more evidence of the widespread impact of scams and fraud.

‘We’ve heard from people who have lost life-changing sums of money to ever-more sophisticated scammers, and it’s clear that the government, regulators and businesses need to do much more to protect consumers.’

Gang members involved in the cyber-fraud case were making between £1m and £2m a week at the scam’s peak, and took a total £113m from victims between January 2013 and October 2015.

They targeted Lloyds and RBS business-banking customers. Police said no insiders from within the RBS banking group were found, but three Lloyds collaborators were convicted.

If you have been the victim of a scam, your next steps depend on how you were parted from your cash.

You can read our guide offers guidance on how to get your money back after a scam.

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