In a move to counter the unwelcome limitations which GDPR imposed on law enforcement, commerce, and even the general public, in protecting themselves against fraud, the UK government is using its departure from the EU to introduce measures giving “new powers on information sharing and tracking stolen money.” The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will provide an opportunity to try to reverse the 8% increase in recorded fraud, having reached a staggering £1.3bn in 2021; [figures revealed by BBC News]. The record figure has been fuelled by a hike in investment scams, where criminals set up fake cryptocurrency websites featuring celebrities supposedly endorsing them on social media.
Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance said, “These are things we have long called for and will support efforts to work together and stop the fraud happening in the first place.” UK Finance is the collective voice of the banking industry, and it is urging customers to think before acting in its “Take Five to Stop Fraud” campaign.
It has been generally accepted that the less-computer-savvy old folk were easy meat for fraudsters. But having a fear, [or rather respect], for new technology can actually be the best defence. Instead of taking as gospel each and every “customer instruction” received on a phone or laptop, the doddery old duffer is more likely these days to take a second look and question the urgency in giving up passwords or moving their money from account to account. This “pause to consider” is in sharp contrast to the under-35s who, according to new research, have become the “prime targets” for the scammers; particularly on platforms such as WhatsApp. The young are more susceptible to being tricked into transferring money through social media platforms, especially WhatsApp.
UK Finance is the collective voice of the banking industry, and they are warning that energy bill and tax scams are becoming more common as the cost-of-living rises. Building on people's fears of rising prices, as victims, it is the younger age groups which are often at the forefront of crime, and more likely to be subjected to impersonation scams.
Social media, shopping sites, and dating apps, being the preferred province of 21-30s, put them top of the victim list, according to Barclays’ data. There is some legal protection if you lose money from your account or your bank details are stolen, so banks have a big incentive to crack down on this type of crime. The number of unauthorised transactions is actually falling. What is growing fast is criminals posing as different organisations, ranging from NHS to banks and government departments, via phone calls, text messages, emails, fake websites, and social media posts. Before swiftly utilising those dextrous fingers and thumbs, it’s worth pausing a while, just like Grannie, and asking yourself, “Is this real?”
Dick Smith QPM
IP Forensics GB Ltd