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UK ‘shocking record on card fraud’ – think-tank

British people suffer far more card frauds than people in any European country, and UK losses from card fraud are also much higher, according to a think-tank.

It’s from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) who has gone over European Central Bank (ECB) data. The SMF has called on the Government to adopt a “comprehensive whole-systems” approach to address fraud – Britain’s dominant crime – starting with recruiting more specialist staff that are trained to handle complex crime like fraud (and other economic crime types).

Richard Hyde, SMF Senior Researcher, said: “Britain’s shocking record on card fraud compared to major European economies is yet another reminder of how UK law enforcement has failed to keep up with the epidemic. Policy-makers need to reflect further on why we’re at this stage. Solving the crisis will take more than just increased police staff. Whilst specialist staff will certainly play a crucial role, the entire fraud law enforcement landscape needs an overhaul – with reforms that will transform the system and enact lasting change.

“There is no time to delay – fraud and economic crime is evolving to be more difficult to investigate and solve – so policymakers must start to make comprehensive system changes now.”

Data covers the three forms of card fraud: Card-Not-Present (CNP) fraud, the majority, where your card number is used for a purchase; point of Sale fraud, where your stolen/cloned card is used to buy something; and ATM fraud, where your stolen/copied card is used to withdraw cash. The value of fraud to 1000 UK people is £8833.2, compared with £6069 in France and much lower sums in Germany, Spain and Italy.

The number of frauds per 1000 people is 134 in Britain and 115 in France, and again much lower numbers in other main Continental countries – 37 in Spain, 19 in Italy and 15 in Germany. ECB data on fraud and fraud per transaction were collected by all reporting card payment scheme operators for 2019.


Mark Crichton, Head of Product at fraud prevention product firm Outseer said that the figures from the SMF show that fraud is now a part of everyday life for the British public. “APP scams and card fraud are major problems for consumers, with recent Outseer data finding that more than 48,000 cards were recovered each day in 2021. The problem in the UK is stark – more so than anywhere else in Europe – with fraudsters not only targeting the UK more, but also making off with more money per case than in other major European nations. The UK has become the fraud capital of Europe.

“While the SMF has called on the government to crack down on fraud, the spotlight should also be on banks to ensure that they have the right solutions in place to identify and stop fraudulent transactions. Machine learning analyses transactions in real time, intervening if parameters fall outside of the norm, preventing fraud at the source. What’s scary is that APP scams will likely become more tailored, and therefore harder to identify, in the coming years. The responsibility must be on banks to build their defences now and protect customers from being caught out.

“Also, as consumers, we should all take a pause when being asked to make a payment to a new account, we should verify the source of the request and be as confident as we can that the request is genuine. Whilst government and banks need to ensure they play their part – including education and awareness – the convenience of immediate payments also requires more diligence on behalf of the consumer.”


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