Financial providers successfully foil criminals seeking to take advantage of pandemic disruption

UK, June 25, 2020:  Fraudsters targeted a myriad of financial products in April, including current and savings accounts, as the UK entered lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, new analysis reveals.

Data from Experian and the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service shows a rise in fraud rates, with criminals looking to take advantage of the disruption to both businesses and their customers brought about by the outbreak.

Across all financial products, fraud rates rose by 33% in April, when compared with previous monthly averages.* The largest increase was in car and other asset finance applications, which saw a rise of 181%, followed by current accounts (35%) and then saving accounts (28%). Fraudulent credit card applications (17%) and unsecured loans (10%) also went up.

While the figures point to an increase in the proportion of fraudulent applications, it also signals fraud teams have been able to successfully identify and investigate questionable account openings since the pandemic began, in part due to a decrease in total applications.

Micah Willbrand, Managing Director of Identity and Fraud at Experian, said: “The rise in fraud rates across each category is a warning that banks, building societies and other financial providers need to be as alert as ever in identifying fraudulent applications, even in the unique circumstances the country finds itself in.

“Its likely fraudsters have been looking to take advantage of the situation and submitting higher volumes of applications under the belief that the disruption would give them a better chance of success.

“But they have been largely disappointed. Fraud teams have had greater capacity to flag and investigate openings that otherwise may have gone unchecked, resulting in incidents of fraud being successfully identified.”

New solutions incorporating Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are supporting businesses and organisations of all sizes in building robust fraud prevention systems. Traditional systems have typically been based on understanding the potential risk an application poses and then flagging it to the organisation’s fraud team for further investigation.

Machine Learning bolsters this process by looking at the results of an application, whether it was fraudulent or not, and then uses this information to inform its decision making on future applications. The more information it has at its disposal, the higher quality decisions can be made.

Experian is a market leader in fraud prevention, giving businesses the ability to quickly flag potentially questionable applications and carry out further checks, while at the same time reducing the level of ‘false positive’ applications and creating a frictionless customer journey for legitimate customers.


*Fraud rate figures analysed from National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service. Fraud rate is detected fraudulent attempts as a proportion of total applications.

Figures analysed by comparing the fraud rate in April 2020 against the previous average monthly fraud rate, February 2019 – January 2020.

Media contacts:

Robert Goodman, PR Manager, Corporate & Business, UK&I, Experian

Tel: 07989 398 948/Email:

Weber Shandwick for Experian

Tel: 020 7861 0762 / Email:

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,800 people operating across 45 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


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