• By The Financial District

UK Is Bank Scam Capital Of The World: Reuters

The United Kingdom is the global epicenter of online bank fraud, and the case of 78-year-old widow “Anna,” who lost 200,000 pounds of her life savings after she put in her card details to avail herself of a discounted electric toothbrush, is but one of thousands of victims, Lawrence White and Iain Withers reported for Reuters.

Photo Insert: The London financial district

Five of UK’s biggest British banks and more than a dozen security experts said scammers were buying up batches of consumers' personal details on the darknet to target the record numbers shopping and banking online since the pandemic.

The UK accounts for 80% of bank fraud losses worldwide. The country's super-fast payments infrastructure, relatively light policing of fraud-related crime, plus its use of the world's most widely used language English, also made it an ideal global testbed for scams, the banks and specialists added.

A British record of 754 million pounds ($1 billion) was stolen in the first six months of this year, up 30% from the same period in 2020, according to data from banking industry body UK Finance, and up more than 60% from 2017, when it began compiling the figures.

That represents a per capita fraud rate roughly triple that seen in the United States in 2020, according to a Reuters calculation from UK Finance and the latest available Federal Trade Commission data.

Banking & finance: Business man in suit and tie working on his laptop and holding his mobile phone in the office located in the financial district.

"The most sophisticated fraud tends to start in the UK, and then move two years later to the US and then around the world," said Ayelet Biger-Levin, vice president of product strategy at US-based cybersecurity firm BioCatch, which provides anti-fraud technology to banks.

"In the last 12 months, we have seen more fraud attacks than we had seen in any other year in history. Data breaches have also accelerated, so there's a lot more personal information out there that criminals can take advantage of."

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