We’re in the Middle of a Fraud and Cyber Crime Surge

Boris Johnson ignored the surge of cyber crime and fraud when he boasted that 2021 saw a 14% reduction in crime – and it’s easy to see why. Take fraud and cyber crime into account and crime doesn’t reduce by 14% but in fact rises by 14%, driven by a massive 36% increase in fraud and 89% increase in cyber crime.

These figures were gathered by the Crime in England and Wales Survey. We covered the survey’s findings for crimes other than fraud and cyber crime in another article. Here we’re focusing on the crimes that the prime minister chose to omit.

Fraudsters and cyber criminals took advantage of the pandemic

The pandemic caused a reduction in crime across many areas as lockdowns and other restrictions kept people indoors and businesses closed. Other social and economic changes from the pandemic, however, caused a historic surge in fraud and cyber crime.

With more people shopping online, fraudsters profited off of postal scams where victims were asked to pay for deliveries that did not exist. The move to online socialising resulted in a record number of “dating scams”, where victims are emotionally manipulated into sending the fraudster money.

Remote banking fraud increased by 53% as banking shifted mostly online, while a 42% increase in financial investment fraud is believed to have been exacerbated by people looking to make the most of their pandemic savings as well as a loss of faith in traditional financial vehicles.

Overall, fraud increased by 36% in the year ending September 2021 compared to 2019 for a total of 5.1 million fraud offences. Around a quarter of these offences resulted in a loss of money or property.

Cyber crime saw an even bigger surge as life, work and shopping moved to the internet. The report found an 89% increase in cyber crime (labelled as “computer misuse” in the survey), including a truly incredibly 161% increase in unauthorised access to personal information.

If you want further information on common cyber crimes, such as phishing, malware and ransomware, visit our cyber security jargon buster.

How much money is lost to fraud and cyber crime?

Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre for England and Wales, releases annual reviews of reported fraud and cyber crime along with their financial impact. They found that in 2021, fraud and cyber crime resulted in £2.5 billion lost for residents and businesses.

The line between fraud and cyber crime is blurring as fraud is increasingly “cyber-enabled”, as high as 80% in 2021. Cyber crime specifically refers to data loss and hacking where the financial hit may not be immediately apparent or where the data is used for other criminal purposes.

Some key findings from Action Fraud include:

With billions lost every year to fraudsters and cyber criminals, it’s clear that we all need to practice vigilance when socialising and doing business online. Cyber security awareness training is a vital tool for the modern business and one that we offer through Threat Evolution, our dedicated cyber security division.

Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.

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