More than 364,000 cases of fraud were recorded to the National Fraud Database in 2019 - the highest ever recorded.
Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service which manages the database, has also revealed that total reported cases of fraudulent conduct rose 13% in 2019 compared to 2018.
Cifas has identified three key areas where the greatest rise occurred: identity fraud, misuse of facility and facility takeover, which all recorded the highest levels of cases over the last five years.
Identity fraud rose by nearly 20% in 2019, which accounts for 61% of cases recorded. Some 87% of identity fraud in 2019 occurred through online channels.
Misuse of facility accounted for nearly a quarter of all cases recorded, with bank accounts specifically targeted for behaviours associated with money muling.
Facility takeover reached its highest level ever in 2019, up 105% over the past five years. Online retail saw one of the most significant rises in cases, there were 3,815 cases in 2019 which is a 100% increase on 2018.
Nick Downing, chief intelligence officer for Cifas, said: “The steady increase in fraudulent conduct over the last few years provides us with a stark warning that we must start taking this threat seriously. We all need to take a step back and consider how we can change our behaviours. Businesses must look to how they can better safeguard their systems and protect their customer’s data, and individuals need to be constantly vigilant of fraudsters trying to steal their personal and financial information.”
Downing added: “We know that the Covid-19 pandemic created new opportunities for criminals to steal money and information, and my concern is that the current economic uncertainty will fuel fraudulent activity even further. If we don’t take action now, then without doubt, the high levels of fraudulent conduct we are currently seeing will just be the tip of the iceberg when compared to the coming year.”