A total of £1.2bn was stolen by criminals committing fraud in 2018, according to the latest report, Fraud the Facts 2019 published by UK Finance.
The trade association for UK banking and financial services said the figure is comprised of £354m in authorised fraud and £845m in unauthorised fraud. Despite this, the finance industry managed to prevent £1.66bn of unauthorised fraud during 2018, effectively stopping £2 in every £3 of attempted unauthorised fraud.
Industry research suggests that 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.
Stolen data is used to commit fraud both directly and indirectly, and the firm said there were”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.”
She added: “Last month, the finance industry and consumer groups agreed a voluntary code which will increase protection for customers from authorised push payment scams.”