Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Scam Britain: 40% of UK businesses report known, or suspect fraud attempts over the past year 

GBG, the global digital identity organisation, is warning that fraud in the UK is rapidly becoming industrialised, with 40% of UK businesses reporting known or suspected fraud attempts in the last 12 months. Globally, almost half (49%) of the businesses that reported fraud attempts say it has increased in the last year. 

At the same time, over two-thirds (63%) of smartphone owners are worried that their personal information (such as name, and/or bank account number) is available for sale to criminals on the internet, and almost nine in 10 smartphone owners (88%) are concerned that they may become a victim of fraud in the future. Over half (53%) agree they are more concerned about being a victim due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Of those who had been victims of fraud, under half (47%) reported the fraud, with more than a quarter (26%) actually closing their account. 23% demanded compensation and only 3% of victims didn’t take action following their fraud experience. 

Over eight in 10 (82%) respondents agree it is the responsibility of the business they transact with to protect their personal information but over half (54%) of people think that signing up for new accounts on their smartphones is only ‘somewhat secure’ with 11% believing it isn’t secure at all.

High trust in biometrics

More than nine in 10 (95%) of those surveyed believe the use of biometrics (fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition) is the most secure method of improving the security of online accounts. Despite this huge vote of confidence, only 28% of UK businesses currently use biometric checks compared to 58% of their US counterparts. 

Gus Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer Identity and Fraud at GBG, said: “The UK is witnessing a rapid industrialisation of fraud and far too many individuals and businesses are having to deal with the absolutely devastating impact of unscrupulous fraudsters exploiting any vulnerability they find. 

“As a result, we are seeing that there is a growing level of comfort in biometrics because this is now highly visible technology. People can already see biometrics working all around them as part of the fight against the rising levels of scams and fraud. Biometric technology cannot defeat fraudsters on its own – it needs to be layered with other visible and non-visible fraud defences – but what we are able to achieve with biometric technology in the mix is hugely reassuring.”

Synthetic fraud considered biggest risk for businesses

According to almost a quarter (24%) of UK businesses, synthetic fraud is considered to pose the biggest fraud risk to their business over the next three years. Synthetic fraud is a fast-growing fraud in which a fraudster combines real (usually stolen) identity information with fake information to create a new identity to illicitly obtain goods and services by posing as genuine customers. 

Gus Tomlinson concludes: “Increasingly customers are looking for evidence that their identities are protected and that measures are being taken to prevent fraud. Greater numbers of customers are favouring security over speed when they open new accounts and there is much that businesses can do to build trust and make use of identity verification to protect themselves and their business – even using it as a competitive advantage.” 

For more findings, and to download the full Global State of Digital Identity 2023 report, please visit


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