This Christmas, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking the fight against fraud to a whole new musical level.
Earlier this month, the financial watchdog said in a statement that it had launched the country’s first official anti-fraud jingle, “designed to be a lightweight and engaging way to educate consumers about the advice in loan fee fraud this Christmas “.
The song, produced in partnership with behavioral specialists Influence At Work and music production company Soviet Science, is posted on the FCA website and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
According to Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market surveillance at FCA, last year’s Christmas lockdown deprived locals of the fun of getting together with family and friends, it’s why they “deserve to celebrate this year’s holiday season in style.” . “
But, he said, “it is a sad fact that crooks will seek every opportunity to exploit vulnerable people through loan fee fraud,” at a time when families already owe it to themselves. cope with increased vacation expenses.
That’s why the FCA turned to science and music this Christmas, hoping to engage consumers on the subject of loan fee fraud in a more accessible and memorable way, explained. Steward, while encouraging heightened vigilance during festive celebrations and helping consumers better identify the warning. signs of loan fee fraud.
These signs include a consumer contacted out of the blue by someone offering a loan after making multiple loan requests, a request to make an upfront payment to a bank account, a request for a money transfer through an unusual method, or a request to make an upfront payment to a bank account. pressure to pay fees quickly.
As Steward said, âScammers can target anyone, so my message is simple: if you are contacted by text, call or email with a loan offer. Stop. Think. And go to the FCA registry to verify the company’s contact details and make sure it is authorized to extend credit before taking out a loan.
The recommendation to take that creative extra step to tackle fraud during the Christmas season, compared to the rest of the year, is no accident. FCA data shows more consumers get ripped off between November and January compared to the rest of the year, as many people are more likely to take out loans during this time to fund higher vacation spending.
According to the FCA, a total of 1,456 reported loan fee fraud cases were reported in those three months, costing victims an average loss of Â£ 274 per fraud. And while one in 20 calls the FCA received during that time was to report a case of loan fee fraud, there were 32% more loan fee fraud calls by months between November and January than the rest of the year.
A 2020 survey conducted by the FCA also found that nearly 30 million adults in the UK “exhibited characteristics of ‘vulnerability’, making them more vulnerable to such scams,” the statement said.
A threat to national security
As if these numbers weren’t alarming enough, the UK faces a wider fraud epidemic – which the UK Finance trade association has said has reached a level that makes it a ‘national security threat’ .
Read more: UK banking protocol helps end $ 44million scam attempts in first half of 21
A recent report by the banking industry lobby group cited in a PYMNTS study on authenticated payments showed fraud attempts totaling Â£ 32million ($ 44million) were made between January and June of this year. , while another report from PYMNTS found that 73% of businesses in the country have experienced data breaches resulting from phishing in the past year.
Related news: 73% of UK businesses have experienced phishing-related data breaches in the past 12 months
Digital fraud involving cryptocurrencies is also on the rise, causing more than Â£ 146million ($ 201.2million) in virtual currency-related losses in the first 10 months of this year, representing a significant 30% increase over the amount lost throughout 2020.
Read the PYMNTS report: No phishing: layered defense is the best way to keep scammers empty-handed
Tackling this widespread fraud epidemic will undoubtedly take time – and for now, the FCA is working to ensure that Britons can enjoy this Christmas holiday armed with their anti-fraud jingle.