What did the 2023 UK Finance Fraud Report tell us?
This article was originally written by Daniel Holmes, Fraud Prevention SME, Feedzai and can be found on UK Finance's website here.
UK Finance‘s Annual Fraud Report for 2023 reveals some important trends in the fraud landscape. In all, UK consumers lost a combined £1.2 billion across all fraud types last year. While this is a staggering figure, the report also contains some encouraging news.
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of UK Finance or its members.
Annual Fraud report: download it here
Firstly, the overall value of fraud was reduced by over £100 million when compared to 2021. Secondly, the biggest loss driver, scams, decreased for the first time since reporting began even while case volumes increased. At the same time, when a scam did occur, banks reimbursed more funds to scam victims than ever before. Finally, the second biggest loss driver, Card Not Present fraud, also declined for the fourth consecutive year in terms of both value and volume.
Banks make progress in the fight against scams
Authorised Push Payment (APP) losses: £485.2 million
The value of APP scams declined by 17 per cent compared to 2021. This is a testament to the hyper-focus applied by banks across the key pillars of detection, processes, and customer education.
The volume of impersonation scams involving police or bank imposters saw the largest decline. These scam types typically produce higher value losses and were therefore prioritised by bank education and detection campaigns. In contrast, though, the report also shows advance fee and purchase scam cases increased. These scam types often involve lower average payment and loss amounts, making them more difficult for banks to detect.
Despite a reduction in overall scam losses, banks returned a record £285.6 million to consumers last year, a rise of five per cent. This trend will be important to monitor as banks adjust to new reimbursement regulations planned by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) in the coming months.
Unauthorised Fraud returns to pre-pandemic levels
Unauthorised Fraud losses: £726.9 million
After three years of decline, card ID theft rose last year by 97 per cent with losses well above the value of those reported before the pandemic.
At the same time, lost and stolen payment card losses rose by 30 per cent to reach £100.2 million. This rise in physical card-related crimes is likely due to people once again leaving their homes more frequently post lockdowns – which gives criminals more opportunities to steal cards. Linked to this, contactless fraud also increased by 82 per cent.
Remote purchase fraud continued to fall, and was down four per cent. This is likely an early signal of the impacts of PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication as customers and fraudsters are forced to authenticate more frequently than in previous years.
Remote Channel trends
Remote banking losses dropped by 18 per cent. One possible explanation for this is that post-Covid-19 lockdowns, consumers spent less time on digital devices. If customers aren’t on their devices, they are less likely to encounter phishing, smishing, or vishing attacks; often the root cause of unauthorised fraud.
Mobile banking apps remain very much the preferred channel of choice for UK consumers. Data shows that in some banks over 80 per cent of all digital logins are made via mobile devices.
Despite this, losses via the web channels still continue to outweigh those on mobile. There was however a significant shift in 2022, with losses on mobile increasing by 33 per cent while losses on web declined by 28 per cent. This suggests that fraudsters are beginning to find it harder to commit fraud via the web channels; as more consumer traffic happens via mobile, a web-based event is more likely to stand out as an anomaly.
Despite some positive developments the industry must remain focused on the year ahead. Three key themes to look out for are:
- Increasing fraud sophistication thanks to advancements in generative AI like ChatGPT and voice cloning technology.
- As scam volumes continue to climb, criminals will increasingly rely on money mules to funnel fraudulent funds to accounts they control. Inbound payment detection strategies and education to those susceptible to muling will be key.
- From a regulatory perspective, the PSR changes will be significant and will impact some banks more than others. Banks should prepare for security and protection policies to begin to significantly influence where consumers decide to do their banking.