Current account fraud fell by 25% in 2012, according to the global information services company Experian.
In the first quarter of the year, 19 in every 10,000 applications for a current account had a 'criminal element'. But by the final quarter of the year, 15 in every 10,000 enquiries had an element of fraud, representing a drop of more than 25%.
Lying on current account applications
Most of the people (71%) who attempted current account fraud in 2012 lied on their applications. Often people try to hide adverse credit history when they open a current account or apply for an overdraft. This is called 'first party' fraud.
'Third party' fraud made up the remaining 29% of attempts at current account fraud. This is where someone tries to open an account to access credit products or for money laundering.
More people lying on applications overall
Overall, fraud at the point of application for mortgages, credit cards and savings, grew between 2011 and 2012. The biggest rise is fraud was among applications for mortgages. This kind of fraud grew for the sixth year in a row, and shot up 9% between 2011 and 2012, possibly reflecting how much harder it has become to obtain a mortgage in recent years.
Experian's Nick Mothershaw comments: "A decline in current account fraud is a positive step for the financial services industry as current account fraud is often the first step for fraudsters who later plan mortgage, loan or credit card deception. It is also important to highlight that the drop is very much the result of better systems and vigilance by financial services providers."
Ian Williams of thinkmoney commented: "We have systems in place to help detect and prevent fraud. As well as making sure that only legitimate customers are able to open and operate a thinkmoney account we also work hard to protect our customers from becoming victims of fraud."