Research published by trade association UK Finance has revealed that, during the first half of this year, criminals stole £503.4 million from the UK public via fraud and scams.
Over the same period, the UK finance industry helped to 'prevent £705.7 million of unauthorised fraud', the research found.
So-called 'purchase scams' proved to be the most prevalent type of crime, accounting for £19.4 million of the total amount stolen. Purchase scams involve a victim paying in advance for an item or a service, such as a car or a hotel room, and subsequently never receiving or being able to make use of it.
The research also revealed that, in the first half of 2018, there were 3,866 reported cases of 'impersonation scams'. As part of this type of scam, the criminal purports to be from an authority, such as the police, and tricks their victim into transferring money.
The average loss resulting from impersonation scams amounts to £11,402, according to UK Finance.
Commenting on the research, Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: 'Fraud and scams pose a major threat to our country. The criminals behind it target their victims indiscriminately and the proceeds go on to fund terrorism, people smuggling and drug trafficking, whether or not the individual is refunded.
'The finance industry is committed to fighting back, investing millions in security systems and cyber defences to protect customers.'