Brian Sims

Cifas signposts marked increase in non-delivery fraud cases

RESEARCH CONDUCTED by fraud prevention service Cifas has revealed that an increasing number of online shoppers are committing fraud against retailers. The rise in online shopping in recent years has resulted in a significant and growing level of non-delivery fraud. This type of fraud occurs when a shopper places an order, receives the goods and then fraudulently claims to not have received the delivery in order to claim a refund.

In a recent survey orchestrated by Cifas, one-in-five people (20%) admitted that they (or someone they know) had committed non-delivery fraud over the last 12 months. That’s up by 18% on the previous year. Most (ie 36%) of these individuals are aged between 25 and 34, followed by 16 to 24-year-olds at 33%.

Surprisingly, nearly a fifth of those surveyed (18%, in fact) didn’t believe it was illegal to falsely claim the non-delivery of a purchase. This result is up from 17% just 12 months earlier.

As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, Cifas has witnessed a rise in individuals committing fraud to not only claim refunds, but also obtain financial products such as mortgages and bank loans. Individuals who make false statements around their level of income often support these claims with fake bank statements and false HMRC tax returns.

Between January and September last year, nearly 18,000 records of false applications were filed to the Cifas National Fraud Database. This represents a rise of 45% when compared to the same period in 2021. The largest proportion of these applications impacted the banking sector, but there were also marked increases in attacks on the asset finance, loan and mortgage sectors.

Fraud costs the UK economy billions of pounds every year, with those individuals found guilty of committing fraud facing prosecution and penalties, including a potential prison sentence.

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, explained: “We know that many people are struggling with the rise in the cost-of-living. However tempting it might be, fraud is never the solution. Anyone found to have committed fraud faces serious consequences, which may impact their financial and employment futures and, in some instances, result in a prison sentence.”

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