The overall level of fraud in the UK rose for a second year, according to figures from Cifas, the country’s fraud prevention service.
Its report, Fraudscape, identified a six percent rise based on a sample of 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018 across more than 470 organisations.
Identity fraud significantly increased in 2018, with 189,108 cases recorded – an eight percent increase on 2017’s figures. Plastic cards were hit the hardest with 82,608 reports of fraud, up 41 percent from 2017.
Cifas reported increases in identity fraud across all age groups, but particularly the young and old. Victims aged 21 and under rose 26 percent, while the over-60s saw a 34 percent increase on the previous year.
As older people are more likely to be approved for credit and their online presence grows, fraudsters are increasingly targeting them online, Cifas said. In 2018. more than 33,000 over-60s were victims of identity fraud.
Cases which of money mule activity were up across the board, with a 26 percent increase from 2017. There was a particularly steep increase in those aged 40-60 becoming involved in such activity, with Cifas finding a 35 percent rise.
Typically, money mules are recruited on social media sites and via messaging apps. They are offered payments if they allow their bank accounts to be used to transfer cash, with many not realising they are committing a crime.
Mike Haley, chief executive officer of Cifas, said: “Fraud in the UK continues to rise and fraudsters are constantly finding new methods of committing fraud. From identity theft through to using the young and naïve as money mules to launder money, the economic and social harm to the nation is growing.
“The only way to fight the threat is to combine communication and collaboration, working together to present a united front against the perpetrators. As no one can expect to deliver effective defense against ever-present threats without the full picture, Fraudscape is a crucial weapon in fraud prevention, allowing us to see where the current attacks are coming from and where future dangers lie.”