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Losses from 'unauthorized' financial fraud rose in 2018, UK Finance says

Unauthorized financial fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and checks in the U.K. amounted to £844.8 million in 2018, up 16% from the previous year, with data breaches at third parties being a major contributor to fraud losses, UK Finance said in a report published March 21.

In 2018, banks and card companies prevented £1.66 billion of unauthorized fraud, wherein a customer account is illegally accessed by the fraudster, but £1.2 billion was successfully stolen by criminals through fraud and scams, according to the trade body's "Fraud the Facts 2019" report.

"During 2018 there were a number of significant data breaches which received extensive media coverage, along with a significant volume of smaller-scale breaches," UK Finance said. The data breaches covered various sectors and took place outside of the banking industry's control.

Losses due to authorized push payment scams, in which customers are tricked into processing a payment to an account controlled by a criminal, rose 50% year over year to £354.3 million.

Check fraud losses increased to £20.6 million in 2018, compared to £9.8 million a year earlier, while £218.2 million of such fraud was prevented.

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, a specialist police unit sponsored by the U.K. financial industry, prevented roughly £94.5 million of fraud in 2018, the report noted. The unit deals with organized criminal groups responsible for financial fraud and scams.