U.K. businesses and consumers accrued losses of more than £1.3 billion ($1.56 billion) in fraud attacks last year, according to the Annual Fraud Report from UK Finance. While unauthorized fraud (i.e., where the consumer’s personal or payment information is used against them without their consent) losses actually decreased from 2020 to 2021, authorized fraud (i.e., people being tricked via social engineering into making push payments to fraudsters) rose dramatically.
Unauthorized fraud losses fell seven percent from 2020 to 2021 to £730.4 million ($876 million), according to the report. That includes attacks like payment card fraud, account takeover, check fraud, etc. Impersonation scams resulting in consumers being duped into making payments to fraudsters saw the most growth over that time, surging nearly 40 percent to £583.2 million ($699.4 million).
For e-commerce businesses in the U.K., fraud prevention efforts seem to be making some headway. CNP fraud losses, according to the report, peaked in 2018 at £506.4 million ($607.3 million) and have fallen each year since to £412.5 million ($494.7 million) in 2021—a nine percent year-over-year decrease.
There has not been a corresponding drop, however, in the number of fraudulent CNP attacks. By volume, fraud attacks rose through 2020 and remained steady in 2021 at around 2.4 million. CNP fraud continues to account for the overwhelming majority of card fraud losses in the U.K. In 2021, that share reached 80 percent.
“Levels remain high as fraudsters continue to exploit the significant rise in online card spending during the pandemic,” the report’s authors wrote. “Despite this, the static nature of the number of cases of remote purchase fraud when compared with a nine percent decrease in gross losses suggests that merchants and card issuers are identifying and stopping individual incidents more quickly.”