Fraudsters change tactics to beat recession, says Cifas

20 May 2009

Fraudsters have changed their tactics during the recession and are "redirecting their efforts" into new areas of financial crime, a new report has warned.

UK fraud prevention service Cifas said that in a survey of its members, the two biggest fraud threats in the current economic climate were facility takeover fraud and online fraud.

During 2008, Cifas members reported a 207 percent increase in facility takeover fraud, with plastic payment cards, bank accounts and telecoms among the areas most at risk.

In a facility takeover fraud, criminals steal customer details using a variety of methods, most notably email phishing, then hijack legitimate accounts. Cifas noted that the crime represents a potentially "very profitable line of attack" for fraudsters.

Online fraud can also be a lucrative criminal enterprise and it is popular with scam artists as it can be perpetrated remotely and relies on stolen card details that can be cheaply obtained on the underground market.

Payments association Apacs said that during 2008, losses from card-not-present fraud, which can include online shopping or mail order, jumped 13 percent to £328.4 million ($508.7 million).

Cifas figures show that overall reported fraud rose by 16 percent in the UK last year.

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