Criminals in Britain are exploiting people’s anxiety over COVID-19 to lead a growing number of online and tech-assisted scams.
This is according to a report published Thursday, March 25 by the website of finance and banking UK finance, which revealed that identity theft scams, in which crooks claim to be government agencies and delivery companies trusted to trick victims into giving them their money, nearly doubled in 2020 to 39,364.
Last year also saw a 32% increase in investment scam cases, which are promoted through online search ads offering above-average returns, and a 38% increase in investment scams. romance scams carried out through online dating.
Authorized push payment fraud losses were £ 479million in the UK last year, a 5% increase from 2019, according to the report. Banks and other financial institutions (FIs) were able to return £ 206million of those losses to victims, more than 75% more than they returned the year before.
UK Finance has called on UK authorities to include fraud within the scope of the government’s online security bill. “The banking industry has worked hard throughout the pandemic to protect its customers from fraud and to go after the criminals behind it, with more than £ 1.6 billion of fraud arrested in 2020,” said Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance. “However, we are seeing a worrying increase in online and tech scams that elude banks’ advanced security systems and use digital platforms to directly target victims, tricking them into donating their money or information.”
Thursday’s report comes three days after the governor of the bank of england called on the UK government to introduce legislation that would force big tech companies to better control scam websites. The report also coincides with a similar warning this week from the Federal Trade Commission, who notes that pandemic-related scams have cost taxpayers an estimated $ 382 million since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak