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Don’t trust anyone

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UK Finance recently released its latest fraud report for 2021. The report shows a total of over £1.3 billion was stolen. Unauthorised fraud was £730.4 million and authorised push payment (APP) fraud was £583.2 million, with nearly 40% of APP losses due to impersonation scams. The banking and finance industry prevented a further £1.4 billion of unauthorised fraud from getting into the hands of criminals.

It seems like a lot, but then they do go on to say that £271.2 million of losses were returned to victims of APP scams. Furthermore, unathorised fraud was donw 7% compared to the year before.

Not so bad then.

Ah, maybe not.

According to the industry research firm Nilson Report, card fraud will cost the industry a collective $408.50 billion in losses globally over the next decade. By 2030, total payment card volume is expected to hit a whopping $79.14 trillion, and the industry will lose an estimated $49.32 billion to fraud.

In 2020, the U.S. was responsible for a bigger share of global card fraud than total card volume. Despite making up only 22% of total card volume globally, the U.S. accounted for 36% of card fraud (in 2019, it was 22% and 34% respectively). By 2030, U.S. fraud losses are expected to reach $17 billion, with total card volume at nearly $19 trillion.

Part of the big rise of fraud in 2020 was due to Covid. A few examples:

  • COVID-19 funeral assistance scam - Scammers pretend to be from FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program and call to offer program registration to family members of people who have died from COVID-19. In this way, the scammers can steal the family members' Social Security numbers and other forms of identification.
  • COVID-19 testing, vaccine, and treatment scams - Be aware that scammers are targeting Medicare recipients. They're offering COVID-19 testing in an attempt to steal personal information.
  • Identity theft when people post a photo of their vaccination card on social media -  Don't post a photo of your vaccination card online. Scammers can see and steal your name, birthdate, and other personal information.
  • Overpayment scams -  Someone sends you a check, instructs you to deposit it in your bank account, and wire part of the money back to them. But the check was fake, so you’ll have to pay your bank the amount of the check, plus you’ll lose any money you wired.
  • Unsolicited check fraud - A scammer sends you a check for no reason. If you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items or signing up for a loan you didn’t ask for.
  • Automatic withdrawals - A scam company sets up automatic withdrawals from your bank account to qualify for a free trial or to collect a prize.
  • Phishing - You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number.
  • Checks from the government - Scammers say they’re from the IRS or another government agency. They ask for your personal information or try to charge you fake fees for getting your stimulus check or offer you a way to get the money early.
  • FDIC and banking - People pretend to call from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank. They say your bank account or your ability to get cash are in danger and ask for your personal information.
  • Grandparent and military service member scams - A scammer pretends to be a grandchild or a military service member. They say they're sick or in trouble because of the coronavirus. They contact you asking to wire them money to pay for fake medical or travel expenses.
  • Charity scams - Fake charities pop up during disasters. And scammers can also claim to be from real charities. Learn how to research charity claims and protect your money.

In fact, the list goes on and on and on.

The key to being safe and avoiding fraud and scams? Don’t trust anyone.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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