ACI Worldwide: UK experiencing ‘pandemic’ levels of digital fraud

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ACI Worldwide has reported that the UK has seen more than one in 10 people falling victim to payments fraud over the last four years.

The “Prime Time for Real-Time Global Payments” report highlights that almost 20 percent of all fraud cases in the country can be attributed to online fraud and digital wallet hacks.

Furthermore, ACI also mentions that new types of fraud such as social engineering and identity theft have reached pandemic proportions in the UK.

Jackie Barwell, Director of Fraud Product Management at ACI Worldwide, said: “As more consumers rely on digital and real-time payments, fraudsters are increasingly targeting the online space to steal sensitive information and top up any missing pieces by impersonating well-known organisations such as banks or government bodies. The advent of open banking and decentralised financial services offers additional room for the problem to grow.”

The report comes in light of recently released UK Finance statistics that a surge in online fraud has led to British victims losing £1.3bn in 2021. Authorised push payment (APP) scams have also risen by 40%, where fraudsters persuade their targets through social media or phone calls to transfer them large sums of money. 

Barwell continued: “A radical rethink of fraud fighting strategies and industry-wide collaboration is required to bring the situation under control. It is an issue that banks cannot solve on their own any longer. 

“Financial service providers, social media giants, telco companies and enforcement agencies all need to work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks before the fraudulent transactions take place. The answer to fighting fraud will not be found by working in isolation.”  

ACI reports similar trends across Europe and the rest of the world, with 13 percent of French citizens having been tricked in the last four years, Italy confirming similar results at 11.7 percent, and India revealing a staggering 41 percent of its population falling victims to fraud since 2018. 

Cleber Martins, Head of Payments Intelligence and Risk Solutions at ACI Worldwide, commented: “Banks need to wake up to the fact that, while they need to use their most advanced technology to monitor outgoing transactions, the same needs to be done for incoming payments to detect mule and fraudulent accounts.

“We must see increased accountability at the receiving end and enhanced data sharing among all participants in the ecosystem – without breaching privacy regulations. As fraudsters are becoming more advanced, a detailed and holistic view of all payments activity is essential to containing them.”