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Retailers reminded of duty to help beat fraud

A total of £1.2 billion was stolen by criminals committing fraud last year – £354 million in authorised fraud and £845 million in unauthorised fraud.

That was a key finding from banking and payments representative group, UK Finance, which detailed the findings in its Fraud the Facts 2019 report. It added that the finance industry prevented £1.66 billion of unauthorised fraud during 2018, which it said effectively equated to £2 in every £3 of attempted unauthorised fraud.

Industry research included in the report suggests the theft of personal and financial information through social engineering caused by data breaches outside the financial sector was a major contributor to the fraud losses. UK Finance noted that stolen data is used to commit fraud both directly and indirectly, and the report referenced several high-profile data breaches involving significant brands during 2018.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Fraud is a crime which poses a major threat to us all – it can have a devastating impact on victims and the money stolen funds even more damaging crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling.

“Every business, from online retailers to social media companies, as well as the public sector, has a duty to work together to beat fraud and prevent stolen data getting into the hands of criminals.”

Of the £1.66 billion of unauthorised fraud apparently prevented by the banking and finance industry in 2018, £1.12 billion was in attempted unauthorised card fraud; £318 million was in attempted unauthorised remote banking fraud; and £218 million was in attempted unauthorised cheque fraud.

Research released by payments platform provider Adyen, last November, found that nearly two-thirds of European retailers experienced a hike in fraud during the last year.

However, more than three-quarters of them said they are prepared for fraud or have active fraud prevention systems in place, suggesting retailers are well aware of the problems they face and they are implementing processes and technology to protect them and their customers accordingly.

The British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey, released last week, also showed that UK retailers are increasing their spend on cybersecurity as attacks from criminals operating in that space continue to grow.