Comment on the latest ONS fraud statistics

Josh Gunnell, our Head of Fraud & ID Pre-Sales, comments on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) crime in England and Wales statistical bulletin:

“Looking at the period from January 2017 to December 2017, overall fraud has remained at the same level when compared to the previous year - which, lest we forget, was a year within which identity fraud reached record levels. However, we can see that increases in offences reported to Action Fraud were largely driven by the volume of consumer and retail fraud - up by 4% - which is worrying.

“As consumers are spending more, particularly online, there’s a correlation with increases in fraudulent activity and unfortunately, we find that some organisations do not have adequate controls to mitigate these risks. Whilst businesses are constantly evolving their processes to make them as streamlined as possible for the customer journey, they often forget that at the same time, they may unwittingly be making things easier for the perpetrators of fraud too.

“Peak volume periods, no matter which industry, can leave businesses and consumers even more exposed to fraud, so it’s imperative that organisations are taking the right precautions.  Our research found that consumers believe fraudsters are always one step ahead of businesses - and that’s got to change. As fraud-prevention techniques become more sophisticated, implementing smarter, more dynamic strategies, such as machine learning techniques, alongside traditional fraud prevention methods, will go a long way towards achieving improved consumer protection.

“Advance payment fee fraud also continues to contribute to the increase in reported fraud - with scams becoming much more sophisticated and social engineering techniques continuing to exploit the naivety and vulnerability of some consumers - and businesses can play an important role here by helping to raise consumer awareness.

“Ongoing fraud has a negative impact on an organisation’s reputation, leading many consumers to lose faith in businesses, and cumulatively this hits their bottom line perhaps more than a fraud attack could, so addressing this should be given priority. The key to long-term success is being able to win back consumer confidence, and for businesses and organisations to show that they are doing everything they can to keep data and identities safe – and communicating this to their customers.”