Mobile banking fraud soars – as do mobile phone thefts

The latest figures released by UK Finance highlight that fraud fell in the first six months of 2023 with a total of £580 million being stolen by criminals.

This is a decrease of 2% compared with the same period in 2022. The advanced security systems used by banks also prevented £651 million from being stolen.

However, there was a 33% increase in reported mobile phone theft in the year to January 2024.

Losses from mobile banking fraud increased by 17% to £18.7 million in H1 of 2023, the highest recorded total. The number of cases also hit a new record, increasing by 32%, with average losses per customer of £2,314.

Remote banking fraud

Remote banking fraud losses are organised into three categories: internet banking, telephone banking and mobile banking. It occurs when a criminal gains access to an individual’s bank account through one of the three remote banking channels and makes an unauthorised transfer of money from the account.

Total remote banking fraud was £78.9 million in H1 of 2023, the same amount as that lost in H1 of 2022. The number of cases of remote banking fraud decreased, falling by 29% to 18,308.

It is worth noting that this type of fraud peaked during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 (£132.5 million) and the reduction seen in 2022 and 2023 was expected as lockdown restrictions eased.

UK Finance research shows that last year, 86% of the adult population used at least one form of remote banking.

A total of £99 million of attempted remote banking fraud was stopped by bank security systems in H1 of 2023. This is equivalent to 55p in every £1 of fraud attempted being prevented.

Mobile banking fraud

Mobile banking fraud occurs when a criminal uses compromised bank account details to gain access to a customer’s bank account through a banking app downloaded to a mobile device.

It excludes web browser banking on a mobile and browser-based banking apps (incidents on those platforms are included in the internet banking fraud figures).

Rises are to be expected in the mobile banking channel as the level of usage increases amongst customers.

Last year, around 53% of adults living in the UK used a mobile banking app either on their telephone or tablet, up from 33% in 2015, and this is likely to continue rising as people become more familiar and comfortable with mobile banking, and the functionality offered through mobile banking improves and payment limits increase.

Losses from mobile banking fraud increased by 17% to £18.7 million in H1 of 2023, the highest recorded total since UK Finance began collecting data for this fraud type in 2015.

The number of cases increased by 32% to 8,078 also the highest total recorded.


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