New data released by the Experian Fraud Index shows a surge in fraudulent applications across the financial services, in what the credit specialist describes as "the evolving nature of fraud threatening the UK’s financial services sector".
Experian cites automotive fraud as having witnessed a 'surge' in false applications, with figures showing it to have risen by 35 per cent in the first half of 2010.
From April to June, 47 in every 10,000 applications were recorded as fraudulent, overtaking those those made for mortgages and peaking at its highest level since early 2006.
Mortgage fraud meanwhile, despite dipping slightly in the latter quarters of 2009, continues to be on the increase also, with figures now showing 35 out of every 10,000 applications being identified as fraudulent.
This is more than double the 16 in every 10,000 during the second quarter of 2007 when the economy was more buoyant.
The first half of 2010 saw a massive 37 per cent increase in attempted mortgage fraud compared with the second half of 2009, with most cases involving applicants misrepresenting their situations or attempting to hide adverse credit histories.
Commenting on the increase in attempted mortgage fraud, Nick Mothershaw, Director of Fraud and Identity Solutions at Experian, said: "Our analysis shows that the increase in attempted mortgage and current account fraud underlines that providers need to invest to manage the risk of fraud and its potential impact on profitability."
Referring to the growing area of automotive fraud, he added: "As our analysis shows, fraud within the UK's automotive sector is rapidly increasing. The growth in this area can be partly explained by the high value assets on offer that can easily be converted into cash, but the complexity of the sales process is also a factor.
For fraudsters, this makes it a comparatively easier target than other finance providers."