A new approach known as “silent stealing”, where fraudsters seek to steal a small amount of money from a large number of people, appears to be on the rise as the UK keeps battling the Covid-19 crisis.
The increase in such schemes has been identified in a report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank. The report says scam artists favor the silent steal because victims are less likely to report small losses. What’s more, police and other officials could potentially struggle to make the connection between individual small-scale con jobs and larger schemes.
“Trying to steal £10m from a bank is an option, but stealing £10 a hundred thousand times is going to give you a good return and probably go below the radar”, the report stated.
Are you going to call Action Fraud or your bank in the case where you lose £10?
Sneha Dawda, a RUSI research analyst, explained that part of the driving force behind silent stealing is that it has become easier for criminals to purchase personal information online that has been obtained through data breaches, giving them the opportunity to impersonate their victims.
The new report follows an earlier statement from RUSI that warned the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the UK’s vulnerability to cyber fraud, especially as more people work from home and rely on digital services for daily transactions.
The think tank hopes to convince the UK government to treat fraud, especially digital crimes, as a national security threat. It says that only 1% of the UK’s police response was directed at tackling the 3.7 million reported silent-stealing incidents being documented in 2019–20.
It describes itself as the “world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank” working to “inform, influence and enhance public debate on a safer and more stable world”. The organisation shared its findings on the changing behaviour of fraudsters in a report on the UK’s response to cyber fraud that seeks to offer recommendations to the government on how to tackle the rise in digital crime.
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