Barclays Launches Monthly ‘Scams Bulletin’ to Combat Fraud Trends

Barclays introduces a monthly ‘Scams Bulletin’ to educate consumers on emerging fraud trends, highlighting a decline in scam claims and the rise of invoice scams among older adults.

Barclays has introduced a monthly ‘Scams Bulletin’ aimed at educating consumers about emerging fraud tactics. This initiative monitors scam claims across all Barclays personal and business accounts, providing a comprehensive view of data and trends to help consumers identify and prevent scams.

The first edition of the Bulletin compares data from the beginning of the year. It reveals a significant decline in both the total value and volume of scam claims in March and April 2024, falling by 15.7% and 7.1% respectively compared to January and February. The data indicates a rise in invoice and mandate scams, while police and bank impersonation scams have decreased noticeably.

The Bulletin highlights that the proportion of claims related to invoice and mandate scams has doubled for individuals aged 61-70, with average claims reaching £12,000—a 24.6% increase from previous months.

Kirsty Adams, a fraud and scams expert at Barclays, explains: “Invoice scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Scammers target suppliers with fake emails that look highly legitimate, requesting invoice payments. It’s always important to double-check invoice and payment details against previous invoices and verify any doubts with a known contact from the business over the phone.”

The Bulletin also notes that scams conducted via text or messaging apps comprised 8.2% of all scam claims in March-April 2024, slightly down from 8.5% in January-February. The average loss from these scams was £2,100, accounting for 5.6% of the total value of claims.

Adams emphasizes the prevalence of social media as a primary source of scams but warns about the rising trend of scammers using text messages. “Scammers often impersonate family and friends to trick victims into transferring money urgently. They also target victims with investment and advance fee scams via mobile, where victims are deceived into paying upfront for services or products that never arrive. We urge everyone to stay alert and verify any new number before engaging. Unsolicited requests for money should always raise red flags.”

Encouragingly, police and bank impersonation scams saw a decrease in both volume and value between March and April, suggesting that consumers are becoming more vigilant against these tactics.

Adams adds, “While scam tactics fluctuate throughout the year, it’s promising to see a reduction in impersonation scams. Ongoing efforts across the industry to educate consumers seem to be paying off, but our work is far from over. As scammers continuously evolve their tactics, it’s crucial that we keep arming the public with information and tools to recognize and prevent scams.”