Economy forces fraudsters to change tactics

News release

Anna White / Sophia Mitchell
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7802 2626
Email: annaw/

Automotive finance sector targeted as organised criminals seek to steal little but often

Nottingham, UK, 6 May 2009 - Analysis from Experian®, the global information services company, shows how the deteriorating economic climate is changing the nature of the fraud threat faced by financial services organisations in the UK.

According to Experian’s fraud prevention systems, the number of attempted frauds continues to increase across mortgages, insurance and automotive credit.  Automotive fraud is the big growth area for organised criminals, who – against a trend of reduced car sales – are now attempting higher volumes of frauds in an area they perceive as being more vulnerable.

Experian provides industry-leading fraud-prevention tools that financial institutions use to identify and minimise their exposure to fraud. In the UK, eight of the top 10 banks, 17 of the top 25 mortgage providers and nine of the top 10 credit card companies use Experian’s application fraud prevention tools.

Analysis of attempted frauds prevented by Experian in 2008 – versus – 2007, collected through the National Hunter scheme, highlights the following trends:

  • Organised fraudsters have increasingly targeted the automotive market, attracted by high value assets that are easily convertible into cash. There was a 70 percent increase in automotive fraud attempts detected in 2008 as a percentage of application volume
  • A seven per cent increase in the total number of attempted mortgage fraud cases in 2008
  • The insurance sector has seen a steep rise in attempted fraud, with a 23 per cent year-on-year increase
  • With less loan capital available, there was a 30 per cent decline in the number of attempted fraudulent loan applications
  • The credit card market has witnessed an decrease in attempted frauds as a percentage of application volume, with cases decreasing by 24 per cent on 2007 levels

Nick Mothershaw, Director of Fraud and Identity Solutions at Experian, commented: “Businesses are already under increased financial strain due to the current economic conditions and cannot afford to underestimate the growing financial impact of fraud. The deeper this recession gets, the greater the threat of fraud becomes. The credit and wider financial services industry need to ensure they are adopting best practice to fight fraud effectively.

“We are seeing big increases in mortgage fraud attempts as consumers who might have previously qualified for sub-prime finance falsify applications attempting to obtain prime products. With less capital available for mortgages and personal loans, fraudsters are now looking beyond their traditional targets to the automotive sector for assets that they can quickly turn into cash.”