Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, has said that the number of asset finance frauds dropped on average by 16% in 2018 year-on-year across the leasing industry.

Asset conversion frauds were up 10% to 574 incidents in 2018, and misuses of asset finance facilities were up 11% to 1,657 cases, while facility takeovers rose by 333% from 6 in 2017 to 26 in 2018. The facility takeover frauds mainly related to unauthorised address changes.

However, application frauds dropped by 21% in 2018 to 8,506 cases, of which the majority involved undisclosed addresses with adverse information, while identity frauds fell by 10% to 876 cases.

Cifas said its data that identifies and analyses the country’s fraud trends based on 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018.

The data analyses results from over 470 organisations, including major UK brands from across the financial sectors.

Cifas wrote in an editorial piece to journalists: “At the heart of the response to fraud, communication and collaboration remain key. No one can expect to deliver an effective defence against these ever-present threats on their own as no one sees the whole picture.

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“Data sharing between organisations through Cifas continues to provide evidence to substantiate this point, with £1.4bn in fraud loss prevented through the use of the National Fraud Database in 2018.

“An effective prevention strategy in one area, however, may well lead to a knock-on effect in another. We’ve seen this recently with the emergence of identity fraud to obtain insurance policies as a response to increasing scrutiny of uninsured vehicles on the roads.

“Similarly, as security around accounts has increased, so fraudsters have increasingly looked to circumvent this by targeting the account holders themselves.

“Clearly, in taking actions to prevent fraud, we need to be looking further ahead in order to limit such unintended consequences before they occur.”