Fraud prevention body Cifas reveal findings of most common “everyday frauds”

Fraud prevention body Cifas have released the findings of a recent study, which they believe indicates a “continued attitude of fraud being a victimless crime.” The survey of 2,000 people across the UK was undertaken by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas.

Seemingly “everyday” acts of fraud such as selling a financed vehicle, money muling (transferring money on behalf of another individual) or submitting a false insurance claim, were seen as most “reasonable” by customers, with 1 in 13 people admitting to having committed at least one form of first-party fraud in the last year (those aged 16-34 were most likely to do so).

During the first nine months of 2021, there was an 18% increase in cases of fraudulent conduct by first-parties, compared to the same period in 2020 (figures from the National Fraud Database). The most common occurrences were misuse of bank accounts (almost 56,000 cases accounting for 7 in 10 instances).

Amber Burridge is head of fraud intelligence at Cifas, and has commented on the findings:

“The findings reveal a continued attitude of fraud being a victimless crime. Committing what may be seen to be ‘everyday’ fraud impacts all our daily finances, such as through higher insurance premiums, increased delivery fees and bigger council tax bills. It’s vital we all recognise the consequences of committing fraud and aren’t tempted into doing it.”

Other “everyday” frauds included falsely claiming that an online delivery had been lost in order to receive a refund and receiving a single person discount on a council tax bill when living with another person.

In a 2016 report, Cifas asked 16-19 year olds about their attitudes towards committing fraud. One of the key findings was that fraud was viewed as a “scale” between criminal behaviour and telling a “white lie.” Younger participants drew a clear distinction between stealing from an individual and “getting the better of” a large company who could afford to take the loss. As participants felt that they were much less likely to commit fraud at the “criminal” end of the scale, they were not as concerned about prison sentences or criminal records, but were more concerned around the consequences of less serious fraud.

  • To read more about the recent Cifas study, click here.

  • For the 2016 report into young people’s attitudes towards fraud, click here.

  • For Cifas’ annual Fraudscape report (2021) click here.

11% increase in identity fraud during first 6 months of 2021

Following the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, there was an increase in identity fraud; a similar pattern has been observed recently as the economy begins to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Mike Haley, Chief Executive of Cifas, said:

“Our members have seen over half a million instances of identity fraud over the last three years. The increase in the first six months of the year is extremely concerning as it indicates that the volume of identity fraud will continue to rise post-COVID as fraudsters exploit the identities of more innocent victims for criminal gain. Businesses need to be prepared to deal with an increase in fraudsters masquerading as genuine consumers attempting to purchase products and services using stolen information. The public should also be wary of increased attempts to trick them out of their personal and financial details.”

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