For many, online banking and credit/debit cards are an essential part of everyday life, as they allow payment towards a multitude of necessities; such as food and utility bills. Despite this, they’re also vulnerable to opportunistic criminals who may defraud an online bank account or use a payment card/cheque that is either stolen, forged, or cloned by them.
Concerned about national financial security, MoneyTransfers.com analysed the latest data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which included data from 44 police forces, in order to establish which areas of the UK have experienced the most cheque, card, and online bank account fraud cases during the 2020 – 2021 financial year; from April 2020 to March 2021.
Cheque, Card and Online Bank Account Fraud Cases in 2020-21: Overall Findings
MoneyTransfers.com found that there were 25,717 cases of cheque, card, and online bank account fraud recorded by 44 police forces between April 2020 to March 2021. During this period, July 2020 (2,349 cases) was the worst month, followed by November 2020 (2,341), whilst April 2020 saw the least number of cases at 1,851.
Additionally, from the 25,717 cases, the collective financial loss that victims suffered was an astronomical £161,221,800 – equating to a financial loss of £6,269 per case.
Cheque, Card and Online Bank Account Fraud Cases in 2020-21: Breakdown by Police Force
Metropolitan Police had the highest number of cheque, card, and online bank account fraud cases from April 2020 to March 2021, at a shocking 4,224 reports, the equivalent of 12 incidents per day in the capital. From the 4,224 cases, the accumulative financial loss victims incurred was a colossal £32.3 million.
In second position is Greater Manchester Police with 1,332 incidences of cheque, card, and online bank account fraud between April 2020 – March 2021. Victims who fell prey to the crime in Greater Manchester experienced an overall monetary downfall of £14.3 million.
West Midlands Police are in third place as they received 1,265 reported cases from April 2020 to March 2021. From those who were targeted, the financial loss equated to £10.3 million; that is comparable to a personal loss of £8,142 for each individual case.
Thames Valley Police (971), Kent Police (896), and West Yorkshire Police (873) are among the other police forces which recorded over 800 cases of cheque, card, and online bank account fraud from April 2020 to March 2021, respectively ranking in fourth, fifth, and sixth place.
On the other end in 44th position is Cleveland Police who recorded only 124 cases of bank account fraud.
Slightly above Cleveland Police in 43rd spot is Dyfed-Powys Police, with the Welsh police force reporting 146 occurrences of fraud. Despite having a low sum of incidents, the amassed financial loss the 146 victims experienced was still a considerable £558,100.
MoneyTransfers.com’s top four tips on how individuals can safeguard themselves from cheque, plastic card, and online bank account fraud:
1. Stay Vigilant
Even though it may feel taxing, it’s a wise idea to keep a close eye on your monthly bank statements to make sure there is no unusual activity, and if there is, report it immediately to your respective bank. Likewise, opt to shred and destroy any financial documents you intend not to keep.
2. Avoid Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots such as those in coffee shops and libraries to access online banking or carry out financial transactions, as you cannot be certain how your personal information is being tracked and logged by their respective networks.
3. Take Online Banking Precautions
Only access online banking via your bank provider’s official website and not by means such as clicking on a link provided in an email. Likewise, when it comes to mobile banking, only use your bank provider’s official app and keep the app updated for the latest and strongest security protection.
4. Have Strong Credentials
Make the password for your online banking as sophisticated as possible – this includes using a combination of numbers, special characters, uppercase, and lowercase letters. When it comes to the pin for your bank card, don’t make it very obvious such as the current year (e.g. 2021) or a combination of credentials from your date of birth (e.g. dd/mm, mm/yr etc).