Experts reveal impacts on online fraud as country sees highest inflation since 1982

by | Sep 24, 2022

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With the UK officially in recession and experiencing the highest inflation rate since 1982, research reveals the impact a recession has on online crime, plus expert tips on how to protect your finances.

The team at SEON looked at various data sets from 2019-20 and 2020-21 such as the number of fraud reports, reports escalated to the police and total losses to reveal the impact of a recession in the UK on online crime.
During a recession, people can be more financially vulnerable, prompting criminals to attack. The 2008 recession saw a 2.1% fall in GDP and a 7.3% increase in fraud offences in the UK.
The effects of a recession on fraud in the UK:



Reports of fraud received






£5,400,000/ $6,498,360

£9,600,000/ $11,552,640

Reports escalated to police




% Fraud reports which had a judicial outcome, non-judicial/ NFA outcome or police enforcement




Statistics show that online crime increases during a recession. In 2020, GDP declined by 9.7%, the steepest drop since 1948. According to Action Fraud the number of fraud reports increased from 27,187 for the 2019-20 fiscal year to 31,322 in 2020-21.
The total amount of losses rose by £4.2/$5.05 million between 2019–20 to 2020–21, from £5.4/$6.5 million to £9.6/$11.5 million.
Meanwhile, the number of disseminations almost doubled, from 7,394 in 2019-20 to 13,655 in 2020-21 when the COVID-19 recession was at its peak.
Action Fraud found that the most commonly reported online crime type of 2020–21 was social media and email hacking, accounting for 51% of all reports.
Expert tips on how to protect your finances:
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Never give anyone your personal details, such as your social security number or PIN.

  • Change your passwords regularly and make them as complex as possible.

  • Be suspicious of any unexpected text messages coming from unknown numbers.

  • Take your time to consider any purchase and discuss first with family and friends.

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