Over £3.9 BILLION has been lost to fraud and cybercrimes in the last 13 months across the UK 

by | Jan 29, 2023

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With over 1.3 million people discussing “fraud schemes” online, the experts at private and commercial bank Arbuthnot Latham have put together a list of scams to look out for and the most common types of scams people come across.  

By looking at how much loss each scam resulted in and how many times the crime occurred over the course of 13 months, the data team was able to determine the top 10 scams across the UK.  

Most common scams in the UK in order:  

Cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts  
Other financial investment 
Other consumer non-investment fraud 
Online shopping and auctions 
Other advance fee frauds 
Dating scam 
Pyramid or Ponzi schemes 
Share sales or boiler room fraud 
Computer software service fraud 
10 Mandate fraud 

There have been almost 28,000 reports of cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts scams reported in the last 13 months resulting in over £665,500,000 lost. 


While these are the top 10 scams across the UK, here is a handy guide to some current fraud schemes going around.  

Below is a roundup of some of the common scams in operation according to Arbuthnot Latham:  

Delivery scams – Phishing attacks related to missed deliveries continue to be prevalent. These involve fraudsters imitating companies like Royal Mail, UPS, and EVRI who contact clients regarding a missed delivery. Emails and text messages contain links to websites designed to harvest your data.  


Energy bill refunds – Fraudsters are utilising the cost-of-living crisis by imitating energy organisations or government agencies (such as Ofgem) with the false promise of a refund or rebate on your energy bills. Emails either contain links to phishing websites or links to malware that infect your devices.  

Purchase scams – An individual is conned into making a payment to someone they believe to be genuine, often via bank transfer or push payment. This is often achieved using online adverts, social media posts, or auction sites where the goods sold do not exist. 

Friend-in-need scams – There continue to be reports within the industry of fraudsters contacting victims via text or messaging apps, pretending to be a friend or family member who has lost or damaged their phone. Normally money is requested to either pay an urgent bill or get a new phone. A new degree of sophistication now involves the fraudster asking for the money to be paid to another family member or friend to make it seem more legitimate. The fraudster has control of this account and quickly moves the funds once received. 


Investment scams – Be wary of opportunities that appear to be too good to be true. If you are being pressured into making an investment through a fear of missing out, or you are being promised high returns with little risk then it is likely to be a scam. 

With so many fraud schemes going on, the experts at Arbuthnot Latham recommend you follow the advice of Take Five – To Stop Fraud before making any financial decisions when you are being pressured.  

STOP – Take a moment to consider a request for payment or disclosure of sensitive information.  


CHALLENGE – Could the request be fake? Do you feel under pressure to act? Fraudsters will create panic to encourage you to act.  

PROTECT – Never disclose One Time Passcodes or full security answers. We will never ask for this. If you think you are being scammed, call your bank and report to Action Fraud.



Data from the NFIB Fraud and Cyber Crime Dashboard was assessed determining the highest grossing crimes, most frequently occurring crimes and they were then weighted to determine what the top 10 worst fraud schemes were in the UK.  

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