A financial scam was committed once every 15 seconds in the first half of the year, prompting a new campaign to highlight the risks.
More than one million cases of card, cheque, phone or online fraud were recorded from January to June, Financial Fraud Action (FFA) said.
That was a 53% rise on the same period last year.
The FFA, which is funded by banks and payment card firms, is pushing advice to help prevent fraud.
Losses are often refunded by banks, but not in every case. Many people are too embarrassed to admit they have been caught out.
The Take Five campaign, backed by police, the banking industry and consumer groups, is aimed at ensuring busy lives do not make people easy targets.
“We are asking people to take five – to take that moment – to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details,” said Katy Worobec, director of FFA.
Home Office Security Minister Ben Wallace, said: “The impact of financial fraud can be devastating on victims, with fraudsters using increasingly cunning and convincing tactics. They prey on people who are trying to get on with their lives but in a moment where they are busy or distracted become vulnerable.
“At the same time, the government is working closely with law enforcement and the banking sector through the Joint Fraud Taskforce to take action to stop the organised criminals behind financial fraud.”
Banks claim they are stopping £7 of every £10 in potential fraud losses, but millions of pounds is still being lost to fraudsters.
Last year, financial fraud losses reached £755m – a 26% increase on the previous year.
You can probably add to that a significant sum that goes unreported every year.
Email deception, as well as phone and text-based scams are now common tools in the modern-day bank robber’s trade – reflected in official crime figures which now include fraud data.
Fraud and cyber crime account for nearly half of all offences, according to the British Crime Survey.
Police experts say that consumers are aware of the dangers of giving out personal details, but can still be caught out.
A survey by FFA suggested that this was most commonly because victims felt the caller was genuine, with nearly four in 10 being caught out as they felt pressurised, with a similar proportion letting their guard down when they were busy.
How to protect yourself from fraud
- Never disclose personal details such as PINs and passwords
- Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine
- Don’t be rushed. Genuine callers allow time to return a call
- Consider your instincts
- Have confidence to refuse unusual requests
A separate survey commissioned by a comparison website suggested that more than four in 10 people have needed to cancel credit or debit cards after falling victim to fraud in the last year.
Jody Baker, head of money at comparethemarket.com, said: “Most of the transactions we make now are digital and our research suggests that over a quarter of people carry as little as £10 in cash.
“With so many of us shopping and banking on the internet, combined with a rise in contactless payments, it is more important than ever to be vigilant when managing your money.”