Key Fraud Trends: How to Stay Safe in the Changing Fraudscape

our consultant managing the role
Posting date:8/9/2018 9:06 AM
Sharing and collecting data is part of our everyday lives. Whether our information is shared over social media, e-commerce sites, banks, or elsewhere, this can open up risks. 

2017 saw the highest number of identity fraud cases ever, an increase in young people ‘money muling’ and higher bank account takeovers for over-60s. Whilst overall fraud incidences fell 6%, these cases highlight just some of the changing trends as fraud issues stem more from misuse than ever before.

Dixons Carphone, Facebook and Ticketmaster are just three cases you may recognise from a string of high profile data breaches this year. Technological advances, more accessible and available data, coupled with an increased sophistication of fraud schemes, makes it more likely that data breaches and fraud attacks will become regular news items. But how is the fraud landscape changing and can technological advances be advantageous in detecting and reducing fraud?

Identity fraud increasing for under 21s


In June 2018, Dixons Carphone found an attack enabled unauthorised access to personal data from 1.2 million customers. It’s now been uncovered that the number is much higher, closer to ten times initial estimates. Whilst no financial information was directly accessed, personal data such as names, addresses and emails enable fraudsters to fake an identity. Younger fake identities are used more for product and asset purchases which typically require less stringent checks, such as mobile phone contracts and short-term loans. 

In 2017, Cifas, a non-profit organisation working to reduce and prevent fraud and financial crime, reported the highest number of identity fraud cases ever. Under 21s are most at risk seeing a 30% increase as they engage more with online retail accounts. Whereas previously identity theft would manifest itself in fraudulent card and bank account activity, it’s now being used to make false insurance claims and asset conversion calling for stronger detection in these industries. 

Young People Used as Money Mules


This age group aren’t only being targeted for identity theft; there’s a 27% uplift in young people acting as money mules. ‘Money muling’ is a serious offence that carries a 14-year prison sentence in the UK. In most cases, younger people are recruited with the lure of large cash payments to facilitate movement of funds through their account, taking a cut as they go. 

In a world where young lives are glamourised and luxurious goods are displayed over social media, this cut can be particularly appealing. Whether aware, believing the reward outweighs the risk, or unaware a money laundering crime is being committed, deeper fraud controls are needed across social media as much as bank accounts. This raises the question as to whether banks should be linking social media to customer details to stop money laundering early on?

Increased bank account takeover for over 60s


Cifas also reported an increase in account takeovers for over 60s for the same period. Seen by fraudsters as a less tech-savvy and therefore more susceptible demographic, over 60s are increasingly being targeted with online and social engineering scams. The same features which can make some over 60s a target for these scams, can also mean that account takeovers are not immediately noticed and reported, posing yet another difficulty for fraud monitoring and prevention. Vigilance and proactiveness is key. Here are three tips to get you started:

  1. Never give personal or security information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, either online, on the phone, or face to face. Always phone and check with the company first. If you make the call then you know you can trust the person on the other end.

  2. Check with your bank to see if they offer an elder fraud initiative such as a monitoring service that scans for suspicious activity and alerts customers and their families or educates seniors on types of scams and how to avoid them.

  3. When in doubt about something, delay and seek a second opinion.

Check with your local library, government offices, or non-profit organisation for more top tips to stay safe from scams and social engineering.  

Industry approach


Traditionally, financial services organisations have been at the forefront of developing fraud controls; they are often the ones most impacted by the financial risk (the monetary cost of the attacks on their business) and regulatory risk (ensuring their business is adhering to regulations and controls).

However, with modern day trends and the changing nature of fraud, all industries need to be focused on reputational risks and prevention. Single big events like Facebook and Dixon Carphone’s data breaches can have a far-reaching impact. 

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Monzo, an online bank, which bills itself as the future of banking has stepped up the game when it comes to their customer’s security. Upon reports of fraudulent activity on customer cards, they took immediate action to correct the problem. Then they took things a step further, introducing digital analytics to help identify trends and patterns. As patterns emerged, Monzo then notified both the breached business and the authorities.

Perhaps a cross-industry collaborative approach is needed as, after all, fraudsters are collaborating. By doing so, businesses will become more proactive, rather than reactive, and can put measures in place to stop potential fraud.

If you’ve got a nose for numbers and want to help secure the reputation of businesses the world over, we may have a role for you

To learn more, call our UK team at +44 020 8408 6070 or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

The fight for senior risk analysts

If you have had difficulties hiring a Senior Risk Analyst recently, and you’re scratching your head as to why – this article should hopefully shed some light on the matter. Year on year we have seen the demand for Senior Risk Analysts skyrocket, making them the most sought after analysts in the ever-evolving world of risk. It’s no surprise that since 2012, the growth of challenger banks and the subprime sector means hiring candidates with experience in risk/FS alongside experience of SAS, has become even more challenging.The growth in demand just can’t be matched by supply. Risk analysts with 2-5 years’ experience are the golden eggs within this rapidly growing and advancing market and it seems that everyone wants them. If a strong Senior Risk Analyst comes on the market, they can have as many as 15 roles to consider at any one time – now this is great for the candidate but it is a recruitment nightmare for the companies looking to get this person on board. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to recruitment processes and these 5 tips below will give you a huge advantage in securing your perfect candidate in the face of fierce competition!1. You must have a slick and efficient recruitment processThe days of a 3+ stage recruitment process for Senior Analysts are over. Why do three one-hour interviews when you can cover it all in one stage and send a message of intent to the candidate? If the recruitment process is slow, unorganised and laborious, a candidate will perceive that this is what it is like to work for the company. Ultimately, the quicker the process, the more chance you will have of securing your perfect candidate.2. Sell, sell, sellAt the end of the day, the purpose of an interview is for the candidate to show off their skills in front of a prospective employer. But as the interviewer, you have a duty to sell the role as much as possible because if you don’t, I can guarantee your competitors will. Another big sell is skipping any testing at the first stage – face-to-face interaction as a first stage is such a good way to get a candidate engaged in a process. Sometimes, there may be 2-3 stages before candidates have even met anyone in the company!3. It’s the little things that make a big differenceBelieve it or not, some people don’t like regular contact from recruiters requesting updates on their situation (I couldn’t believe it!). One really nice touch I have seen work is a hiring manager calling their preferred candidate from their personal mobile in between interviews to check in and see how things were going – little things like this can make a big difference in the long run, and only take a couple of minutes.4. Best offer firstThis is the most frustrating thing that I come across in recruitment. Companies sift through a huge number of CVs sent through by recruiters/direct applicants, spend countless hours interviewing candidates, and when they finally find the perfect candidate, they under-offer them to see whether they can get them slightly cheaper… It all comes back to intent, and by offering the best possible offer first time, it sends a positive and decisive message to any prospective candidates.5. Flexing on skills – have you considered it?Although it may not always be ideal to begin with, employers flexing on skills and experience is something I have seen work a number of times over the past 12 months. For example, a role may be open for 6 months whilst the employer is trying to find their perfect candidate but within that time, they could have hired someone who didn’t quite tick all of the boxes, trained them up in 3 months and saved themselves a lot of time and money! If you think the candidate can pick things up quickly, definitely consider them.It’s never going to be a seamless process when attempting to hire a Senior Risk Analyst so don’t make it harder for yourself!

Key Fraud Trends: How to Stay Safe in the Changing Fraudscape

Sharing and collecting data is part of our everyday lives. Whether our information is shared over social media, e-commerce sites, banks, or elsewhere, this can open up risks.  2017 saw the highest number of identity fraud cases ever, an increase in young people ‘money muling’ and higher bank account takeovers for over-60s. Whilst overall fraud incidences fell 6%, these cases highlight just some of the changing trends as fraud issues stem more from misuse than ever before. Dixons Carphone, Facebook and Ticketmaster are just three cases you may recognise from a string of high profile data breaches this year. Technological advances, more accessible and available data, coupled with an increased sophistication of fraud schemes, makes it more likely that data breaches and fraud attacks will become regular news items. But how is the fraud landscape changing and can technological advances be advantageous in detecting and reducing fraud? Identity fraud increasing for under 21s In June 2018, Dixons Carphone found an attack enabled unauthorised access to personal data from 1.2 million customers. It’s now been uncovered that the number is much higher, closer to ten times initial estimates. Whilst no financial information was directly accessed, personal data such as names, addresses and emails enable fraudsters to fake an identity. Younger fake identities are used more for product and asset purchases which typically require less stringent checks, such as mobile phone contracts and short-term loans.  In 2017, Cifas, a non-profit organisation working to reduce and prevent fraud and financial crime, reported the highest number of identity fraud cases ever. Under 21s are most at risk seeing a 30% increase as they engage more with online retail accounts. Whereas previously identity theft would manifest itself in fraudulent card and bank account activity, it’s now being used to make false insurance claims and asset conversion calling for stronger detection in these industries.  Young People Used as Money Mules This age group aren’t only being targeted for identity theft; there’s a 27% uplift in young people acting as money mules. ‘Money muling’ is a serious offence that carries a 14-year prison sentence in the UK. In most cases, younger people are recruited with the lure of large cash payments to facilitate movement of funds through their account, taking a cut as they go.  In a world where young lives are glamourised and luxurious goods are displayed over social media, this cut can be particularly appealing. Whether aware, believing the reward outweighs the risk, or unaware a money laundering crime is being committed, deeper fraud controls are needed across social media as much as bank accounts. This raises the question as to whether banks should be linking social media to customer details to stop money laundering early on? Increased bank account takeover for over 60s Cifas also reported an increase in account takeovers for over 60s for the same period. Seen by fraudsters as a less tech-savvy and therefore more susceptible demographic, over 60s are increasingly being targeted with online and social engineering scams. The same features which can make some over 60s a target for these scams, can also mean that account takeovers are not immediately noticed and reported, posing yet another difficulty for fraud monitoring and prevention. Vigilance and proactiveness is key. Here are three tips to get you started: Never give personal or security information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, either online, on the phone, or face to face. Always phone and check with the company first. If you make the call then you know you can trust the person on the other end. Check with your bank to see if they offer an elder fraud initiative such as a monitoring service that scans for suspicious activity and alerts customers and their families or educates seniors on types of scams and how to avoid them. When in doubt about something, delay and seek a second opinion. Check with your local library, government offices, or non-profit organisation for more top tips to stay safe from scams and social engineering.   Industry approach Traditionally, financial services organisations have been at the forefront of developing fraud controls; they are often the ones most impacted by the financial risk (the monetary cost of the attacks on their business) and regulatory risk (ensuring their business is adhering to regulations and controls). However, with modern day trends and the changing nature of fraud, all industries need to be focused on reputational risks and prevention. Single big events like Facebook and Dixon Carphone’s data breaches can have a far-reaching impact.  But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Monzo, an online bank, which bills itself as the future of banking has stepped up the game when it comes to their customer’s security. Upon reports of fraudulent activity on customer cards, they took immediate action to correct the problem. Then they took things a step further, introducing digital analytics to help identify trends and patterns. As patterns emerged, Monzo then notified both the breached business and the authorities. Perhaps a cross-industry collaborative approach is needed as, after all, fraudsters are collaborating. By doing so, businesses will become more proactive, rather than reactive, and can put measures in place to stop potential fraud. If you’ve got a nose for numbers and want to help secure the reputation of businesses the world over, we may have a role for you.  To learn more, call our UK team at +44 020 8408 6070 or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com