Brits lose £625m to fraud in first three months of 2021

Brits lost around £625 million to fraud and cyber-crime in the first three months of the year, according to new research.

A report from Money.co.uk found that there were 137,695 fraud and cyber-crime related police reports issued between January and March this year.

Across the past three months, the UK has seen a 26 per cent rise in fraud and cyber activity.

According to the research, there was an additional £100m worth of losses in the first quarter of 2021. In the final three months of 2020, there were losses of £528 million.

The average victim in the first three months of the year lost £4,543.

The most common type of fraud recorded was online shopping and auctions, amounting £17.4 million across 28,173 cases. This means one in five reported incidents was related to either e-commerce or online auctions.

Reports last year found that in the first half of 2020 there were 40,900 cases of online shopping fraud.

This was up by 37 per cent compared to the previous year, reflecting the shift to online during the pandemic.

In contrast, the first quarter of 2021 reached almost three quarters of that total figure.

UK residents aged 20-29 reported the highest number of individual crimes (23,500 reports), followed closely by those aged 30-38 (23,100 reports).

“The research shows the extent fraudsters have taken advantage of online shoppers during lockdown,” said James Andrews, personal finance expert, money.co.uk. “As coronavirus restrictions are lifted, it is still important that people are aware of what they can do to defend themselves against fraud and cyber-crimes - as well as what actions you can take if you suspect you or a loved one has been caught out.”

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