According to a report conducted by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, online banking fraud is up by 71% this year, while in the first six months alone a reported £29.3 million worth of damage occurred.
Telephone fraud also exploded by 20%, with £6.6 million worth of damage reported so far.
Most significantly, among the most hit by these scammers and fraudsters are small businesses.
The FFA report claims business accounts are a primary target because they allow for “higher value fraudulent transactions”.
Another growing trend is criminals cold calling people posing as representatives of the police, banks or trusted companies in order to trick them into revealing personal or financial information.
The FFA research showed that only a quarter of customers check or challenge the identity of the caller and so put themselves at risk of such a scam.
This figure is significantly higher among 18-34 year-olds.
A number of people are also having their personal information stolen via computer viruses, and this trend has grown in the past 18 months.
In response to these findings, detective Chief Inspector Perry Stokes – head of the dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit – offered valuable advice to consumers.
He said: “Be very suspicious of phone calls, texts or emails which come out of the blue asking for personal or financial details, regardless of who they claim to represent.
‘Be aware of the warning signs: your bank will never ask you for your four digit PIN, to transfer or withdraw money, or to give your card to a courier.”
The FFA are also strongly advising people to follow the course of action recommended by the National Crime Agency last month. This includes regularly downloading and updating security software – particularly any software offered by your bank.