Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Richard Hyde; Peter Wilson

July 12, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation adds to the evidence base on the scale and impact of fraud on the UK.

Fraud is being committed at epidemic levels, but its impact is not as well understood as it should be. This interim report looks to add to the current evidence base, outlining the key findings from a recent nationally representative survey and a specific survey of fraud victims. The research sheds light on the prevalence and scale of fraud in the UK. Contrary to common perception, 18-34 year olds were the most likely to fall victim to fraud. The average loss incurred by victims of fraud in the UK between 2020-2023 was £2,900, with over 65s incurring the highest losses. The total economic and social cost of fraud against individuals in England and Wales in 2021-22, meanwhile, is estimated to have been around £12.8 billion. The report finds that fraud can have significant and diverse impacts on victims. 31% of fraud victims said that the most recent fraud committed against them between 2020-2023 had had a major economic impact. Victims also reported that fraud had impacted their self-confidence (35%) and mental health (25%). Victims were more likely to report fraud to their bank or building society than to the policy or Action Fraud, but only 66% said they had been reimbursed. The full report, featuring insights from interviews with victims and a SMF convened, policy focused expert roundtable on fraud, will be published in the autumn. It will also present recommendations for improvements to the current counter-fraud policy landscape.