Whether we like it or not, fraud has become an inherent part of the societal norm. While certain types of fraud impact upon your daily life without your knowledge, in the form of increasingly costly insurance premiums or a diminishment in the quality of public services, you can also find yourself directly susceptible to fraud: whether you’re online, offline, at home or abroad.
Some of the most common types of fraud in the UK are…
While some see benefit fraud as a faceless type of fraud, in that there is no perceived “victim”, it is one of the most common, and costly, types of fraud in the UK, costing the British taxpayer in excess of £1.2 billion in 2011-2012 alone.
The annual cost of fraud contributes greatly to the budget deficit, meaning that the Government must make cuts elsewhere, including in public service funding, such as healthcare. Benefit fraud, therefore, is something which impacts on the quality of all our lives.
With over 166,000 cases of benefit fraud investigated in 2011-2012 and over 10,000 convictions, the trend towards seeing benefit fraud as an easy way to put a few extra pounds in one’s pocket is a worrying one that shows no sign of abating, despite the Government’s concerted efforts to crack down on the crime.
Credit and debit card fraud
Credit, or debit, card fraud has been a part of our lives for several decades and, while 2011-12 statistics indicate that there has in fact been a decline in credit and debit card fraud overall, the same statistics merely indicate that the nature of card fraud is changing, not necessarily declining in frequency.
While Financial Fraud Action UK reported a 7% decrease in card losses, year on year, for 2011-2012, translating into a figure of £341 million, the lowest figure in a decade, telephone banking losses increased by around a third over the same period.
Instead of stealing cards, fraudsters are making phone calls to customers, posing as employees of their bank andasking for secure card information. It seems that with technological advances making online payments more secure, fraudsters are falling back on more basic techniques, which customers are less vigilant about.
Accident claim abroad fraud
‘Accident claim abroad’ is another area that is being increasingly targeted by fraudsters.
Whether claims relate to illness while on holiday, damage to goods, or the theft of personal items, a growing number of people are making fraudulent claims on their holiday insurance each year. The rise in the number of fraudulent claims is a trend that is adding an average of £50 to the annual insurance premiums of regular customers.
The industry is using technology and incident investigators to clamp down on those intending to commit fraud, but the proliferation of ‘accident claim abroad’ claims is certainly starting to follow the trend set by fraudulent whiplash claimants in the UK.
A failure to nip the problem in the bud could see it spiralling out of control, not only increasing the cost of insurance premiums for regular customers, but also making it harder for genuine claimants to get the compensation they deserve, as their claims are increasingly met with inherent scepticism.