Half of Brits unable to spot tell-tale signs of fraud

Brits struggle to keep tabs on their bank statements as transactions rise. Photo: Jaap Arriens/Sipa USA/PA Images

Nearly half (46%) of Brits are unsure they’d be able to spot fraudulent transactions on their bank statement, with the number of transactions per debit card increasing by 90% over a decade.

Research by MoneySuperMarket found over a quarter of Brits (28%) struggle to keep tabs on the number of transactions on their bank statement, with debit card statements increasing by an average of 17 payments per year between 2008 and 2018.

The latest figures from UK Finance reveal that this trend continued in 2019, with 1.6 billion transactions on debit cards in October 2019 alone – a 9% increase on the previous year.

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According to analysis by MoneySuperMarket, the total number of transactions made via debit card nearly doubled from 2008 to 2018, with the average transaction value falling by a quarter from £53 to £40.

Contactless payments continue to rise and accounted for almost half (43%) of the total number of payments made with a debit card in 2018, compared with only 9% three years earlier.

Confidence in spotting fraud is lower for younger people aged between 18 and 24, with nearly six in 10 being unsure if they would be able to pick out a fraudulent transaction.

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Those aged over 55 are the most confident, with more than half (65%) claiming they would be able to do so.

This may be because older generations are more diligent in checking every item on their bank statement. Fewer than half of those aged between 18 and 44 check their statement line-by-line, compared to 77% of those aged 55 and over.

Sally Francis-Miles, money spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Fraud can take various forms from skimming to identity theft and our research suggests that almost half (46%) of Brits aren’t confident when it comes to spotting the signs.

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She added: “As a nation, we’re making more transactions every year, resulting in a growing trend of ‘little and often payments’. This means that our bank statements are inevitably getting longer, which could be why people struggle to keep track of their finances and leave themselves vulnerable to fraud as a result.

“To avoid becoming the victim of fraud, never give your details out over the phone or by email. It’s also worth constantly reviewing your bank statements to ensure that you recognise all payments. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your bank immediately – it pays to be cautious.”