New report highlights ‘epidemic’ levels of fraud and reveals the harm to UK business.
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New report highlights ‘epidemic’ levels of fraud and reveals the harm to UK business.

Fraud is the most prevalent crime in the UK and costs the private sector billions of pounds each year.

Four leading experts have concluded that fraud has reached epidemic levels here in the UK, has the potential to undermine the viability of businesses, and should be seen as a national security issue.

The shocking findings are revealed in a paper titled ‘The Silent Threat’, published by the Royal United Services Institute. RUSI is the UK’s leading defence and security think tank.

As the most widespread crime in the UK, all of us are potential victims of fraud - however much we might think we’re too canny to be conned. Right now, fraudsters are also taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to exploit people through increasingly sophisticated methods.

In 2019, identity fraud cases made up 61% of total cases recorded to the National Fraud Database.

With identity, cyber and credit card fraud costing up to £190bn each year, the report also suggests that the scale of fraud against the private sector has an impact on the reputation of the UK as a place to do business.

Although the private sector takes the biggest hit financially, the authors say that the losses from this crime go beyond money due to the harmful broader impacts on society.

“Perhaps unique to this crime type, fraud has the potential to disrupt society in multiple ways, by psychologically impacting individuals, undermining the viability of businesses, putting pressure on public services, fuelling organised crime and 
funding terrorism.”

National security ‘dialogue’ is an important first step to tackling this massive issue, the report argues, but it will be actions, not words, that will be key to turning the tide.

The report recommendations include:

• classifying fraud as a national security issue, to ensure the right levels of resourcing and prioritisation
• better information-sharing and use of data analytics
• more focused intelligence direction from the National Security Council, including GCHQ and the National Crime Agency
• more money and attention from police forces

Luke Burton, Rent4sure’s Chief Operating Officer, shares his thoughts on how to defeat identity fraud. 

In 2019-20, the Crime Survey for England and Wales found 3.7 million reported incidents of members of the public being targeted. This is a disturbing figure, but even more worrying is the reality that many more cases may be going unreported.

I’ve worked in the lettings industry all my career and know the lengths to which criminals will go to commit fraud. It’s timely that RUSI’s stark report shines more light on the insidious nature of this crime, and reminds us all that we need to take every precaution to avoid becoming a victim of scammers.

My message to customers is that we are here to help you take all preventative measures possible. Rent4sure is a hugely experienced company and, having delivered literally millions of references over the past decade, agents can be assured that we have the knowledge and capability to provide an authoritative profile of applicants.

We stay ahead of the fraudsters through a variety of means, including researching and investing in advanced technology which is then built into our specialist software platform by our in-house IT team.

Combine this innovation with the advantages of specialist referencing teams who personally engage with all checks throughout the entire process, and we believe we have the best solution on the market to give you the confidence to let.

Know Your Customer is Rent4sure’s unique in-depth identity check, specifically designed to help customers combat fraud. It can be used in conjunction with our MRZ Analysis tool, to verify that documents are genuine. You can see exactly how our Know Your Customer checks work