A Review of the 2024 Annual Fraud Report

The 2024 Annual Fraud Report (“the Report”), recently published by UK Finance, reveals the devastating effect that fraud continues to have in the United Kingdom. Almost £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in 2023, with nearly 3 million confirmed cases – representing over 40 per cent of all reported crime. Although the total value of losses and the number of cases decreased from 2022, both figures remain staggeringly high.

Unauthorised Fraud

Unauthorised fraud occurs where a fraudster carries out a transaction without the authorisation of the account holder. This includes fraud on debit, credit, and other payment cards, cheques, and remote banking channels. In 2023, unauthorised fraud losses were £708.7 million, down 3 per cent on 2022.

In 2023, £1.2 billion of unauthorised fraud was prevented – a seven per cent increase on 2022 and equal to 64p in every £1 of fraud attempted. This highlights the ongoing efforts across the industry to reduce harm to consumers and prevent money from reaching fraudsters.

Authorised Fraud

Authorised fraud (also known as “Authorised Push-Pay Fraud” or “APP Fraud”) occurs when an individual is tricked into sending money to a fraudster. The possible forms of authorised fraud are almost endless – constrained only by the creativity of the fraudsters. In 2023, the number of authorised fraud cases increased by 12 per cent to 232,429. Whilst the quantum of total losses dropped by 5 per cent this year, it remains high at £459.7 million.

By far the most common form of authorised fraud in 2023 was purchase scams. These occur where the victim pays in advance for goods or services that are never received. Commons scams include a fraudster posing as the seller of a car or a technology product. In 2023, there were 158,516 reported cases of purchase scams, a 34% annual increase. The total value of such scams was £85.9m, a 28% increase. Both figures were the highest ever recorded.

Investment scams caused the biggest value of loss in 2023. Some 10,226 cases were reported, causing £107.8m in losses. An investment scam occurs where a fraudster convinces their victims to move money into a fictious fund or provide money for a fake investment. The fraudster will usually promise a high return to entice the victim into making the transfer. These scams often include investments in items such as “gold, property, carbon credits, cryptocurrencies, land banks, and wine”.

At Edmonds Marshall McMahon, we’ve seen a significant increase in cases of cryptocurrency fraud, which aligns with the most recent figures from Action Fraud. In March 2023, Action Fraud reported that the value of cryptocurrency fraud reached a record high of £306m, up an enormous 41% from the previous year.

The UK Finance Report also analysed the following six forms of authorised frauds:

Type of ScamDescriptionValueCases
Romance ScamsVictim is persuaded to make a payment to a person they have met online, often through social media or dating websites, and with whom they believe they are in a relationship. £36.5m (+17%)  4,160 (+14%)
Advance Fee ScamsVictim is persuaded to pay a fee which is said to result in the release of a much larger payment.£31.3m (-3%)23,849 (-13%)
Invoice & Mandate ScamsVictim attempts to pay an invoice to a legitimate payee, but the fraudster intervenes and convinces the victim to redirect the payment to an account they control.£50.3m (+2%)3,110 (-7%)
CEO ScamsFraudster impersonates the CEO or other high-ranking official in the victim’s organisation and convinces them to make an urgent payment to the fraudster’s account.£11.6m (-14%)411 (-5%)
Impersonation: Police/Bank StaffFraudster contacts the victim purporting to be from either the police or the victim’s bank and convinces the victim to make a payment to an account they control.£78.9m (-28%)10,594 (-37%)
Impersonation: OtherFraudster claims to represent an organisation such as a utility company, telecommunications company, or government department.£57.3m (-16%)23,563 (-17%)


This Report brings both good and bad news. The top-line numbers are encouraging, as the total value of losses and number of cases has decreased. However, the detailed breakdown reveals that fraudsters are shifting their attention on certain types of fraud, such as purchase scams, investment scams, and romance scams.

Here at Edmonds Marshall McMahon, we’ve seen first-hand the devastating effect that these types of fraud have on victims. Beyond the obvious economic losses, victims often suffer severe emotional damage as these frauds are manipulative, pernicious, and a gross abuse of trust.

If you’ve fallen victim to a fraud, don’t hesitate to contact Edmonds Marshall McMahon. Our team are experts in tracing, freezing, and recovering losses by fraud and, in appropriate cases, conducting successful fraud prosecutions.

Call us for a free and confidential consultation with a specialist solicitor, on +44 (0)20 7583 8392. Alternatively, complete our online contact form, and one of our solicitors will be in touch.

Edmonds Marshall McMahon provides legal support to clients both in the UK and globally.

By Oliver Fredrickson