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UK consumers have lost more than £21m to "social engineering" scams where fraudsters impersonated bank employees and tech support since the beginning of the year, according to GetSafeOnline.

A range of tactics including phishing emails, fraudulent phone calls asking for personal or financial information or phone calls from fraudsters impersonating computer technical support agents have been used to defraud punters. So-called voicemail phishing (or visiting) in particular is having a big impact.

According to Financial Fraud Action UK, approximately 23 per cent of people in the UK have received a cold call requesting personal or financial information.

In the first five months of this year alone, some of the UK’s main high street banks have reported losses of over £21m from voice phishing (or "vishing") attacks on their customers, with over 2,000 attacks resulting in an average loss of over £10,000 per victim, according to ‪GetSafeOnline.‬

The UK gov and industry-backed non-profit is seeking to raise awareness of these scams through a new campaign, launched this week, featuring videos and tips on how consumers can avoid becoming a victim of social engineering.

Elsewhere new statistics have revealed that ‪one in four UK consumers ‬(28 per cent) ‪have experienced card fraud in the last five years - the highest in Europe. The figures comes from a survey of 6,100 in 20 countries by payment processing firm ACI worldwide.‬

The study, run by ACI and industry analyst Aite Group, found that 23 per cent of consumers changed financial institutions due to dissatisfaction after experiencing fraud. Nearly half (43 per cent) of cardholders who received replacement cards as a result of a data breach or fraudulent activity in the past year used the new card less than they did the original, another statistic that suggests fraud hurts banks as well as hugely inconveniencing the individuals stung by all-too-commonplace financial scams.

The UAE has the highest rate of fraud overall at 44 per cent, followed by China at 42 per cent and India and the United States at 41 per cent each. ®

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