Each week we take a look at the latest stories from UK fintech. This week crypto fraud costs over £146 Million and 74% of female tech workers have had a negative experience at work because of their gender.
British public loses £204.5 million to dating scams, hacking and more in past 12 months
A new study reveals that the UK’s public has lost as much as £204.5 million to personal, digitally-driven crimes in the past 12 months. Additionally, as many as 26 million British adults – 49% of residents over the age of 16 – report either not knowing whether their smartphone has security software installed, or having none at all.
App development company Bacancy Technology analysed statistics drawn from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), focusing on crimes more likely to befall members of the public – such as dating scams, personal and social media hacking, computer viruses and banking app fraud.
In total the UK has filed a total of 60,297 reports of criminal activity dating back to September of last year, culminating in a total loss of £204.5M to the personal finances of British citizens.
Crypto fraud costs over £146 million this year
Fraud linked to cryptocurrencies surged in the first nine months of the year, UK Police said, with victims cheated out of more than 146 million pounds so far.
There have been 7,118 reports of fraud related to cryptocurrency made to the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime this year, City of London Police said in an emailed statement. The amount of money allegedly lost in 2021 is already 30% more than all of 2020, it added. More than half of the victims were between 18 and 45 years old.
Ilia Kolochenko, Founder of ImmuniWeb, and a member of Europol Data Protection Experts Network said: “Many inexperienced users are intimidated by fraudsters, who artfully deter litigation and prevent victims from filing complaints. For example, victims may first naively invest into a Ponzi scheme and later learn – from the organisers – that the entire venture was unlawful and, unless they take a risk to be prosecuted as co-conspirators, they get 5% of their initial investment as final compensation.
“Given that crypto fever is now red-hot, we will probably see a further spike of defrauded victims with no viable means to get their money back. Would-be crypto buyers should carefully scrutinise the contract, ascertain that the seller is solvent and can be brought to court in their home state.”
74% of female tech workers have had a negative experience at work because of their gender
Research released today by NTT DATA UK reveals that nearly three-quarters of women (74%) have had a negative experience at work because of their gender. Despite ongoing barriers facing women in the sector, 85% of all respondents believe the industry has become more welcoming to women over the last decade, with the most cited reason behind this improvement being an increase in diversity initiatives.
The last decade has seen a concerted effort to improve opportunities for women in the technology sector. Diversity initiatives are clearly making an impact, with both women (63%) and men (68%) agreeing that these programmes have had a key role to play in making the sector more welcoming for women over the last ten years. However, women continue to face adverse behaviour that risks affecting their ability to feel safe and valued in the workplace: 59% have experienced being spoken down to because they are a woman; 49% have experienced biased behaviour towards them as a woman; and 34% have experienced discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, sexuality, and age.
Vicki Chauhan, Head of Public Sector at NTT DATA UK, commented: “To address this problem, and to continue addressing the gender imbalance in the UK technology industry, organisations must take measures to ensure their working cultures are inclusive, alongside putting tangible measures in place to attract women into the tech sector and support them in their careers.”
UK’s highest earners missed out on £2.5bn in unclaimed tax relief
Analysis by online pension provider, PensionBee, has found that over 1.5 million of the nation’s highest earners failed to claim an estimated £810m in tax relief in the 2018/19 financial year, totalling around £2.5bn between 2016/17 and 2018/19.
Over the three year period, PensionBee found that an average of 80% of higher rate taxpayers eligible to claim relief through their Self-Assessment tax returns failed to do so, while an estimated 53% of additional rate taxpayers inadvertently left tens of millions of pounds to the Chancellor.
Figures obtained via freedom of information requests to HMRC show that the number of taxpayers neglecting to claim beyond the basic rate of tax relief has remained consistent at around 1 million between 2016/17 and 2018/19 for higher rate taxpayers, while reducing from its three-year peak of 72,262 in 2017/18 to 58,690 in 2018/19 for additional rate taxpayers.
Romi Savova, CEO of PensionBee, commented: “Tax relief is a vital incentive that encourages people to save efficiently towards their retirement and too many people continue to miss out on this crucial benefit.
“Research shows that consumers on lower incomes, and particularly women, do not receive any of the tax benefits that come with pension saving, because they are currently under the basic rate threshold. While at the other end of the spectrum, today’s analysis shows that millions of high earners are also missing out by not completing their Self-Assessment.
“The dual system is too complex and radical reform is long overdue. We’re calling on the Chancellor to scrap differential rates of tax relief, which are incredibly costly and complicated to understand, in favour of a system that truly rewards everyone for putting money away for their retirement. A universal rate of 25% will level the pensions playing field and put a stop to consumers across all tax brackets missing out.”
Confused CEO Louise O’Shea voted as new Chairman of FinTech Wales
FinTech Wales, the not-for-profit independent membership organisation for the fintech and Financial Services industries in Wales, has voted Louise O’Shea, the CEO of Confused.com as the new Chairman and appointed two new Directors to the board – Ben Joakim, Head of Strategy at Principality Building Society and Eamon Tuhami, Founder and CEO of X8IQ.
On her appointment as the new FinTech Wales Chairman, Louise O’Shea commented: “To be appointed by the FinTech Wales Advisory Panel as Chairperson for the organisation is an honour. We have made significant progress in the last 12 months and have big, albeit realistic, ambitions for the future. Working with Sarah, the Board and Panel to deliver these on behalf of all of our members is something I am very much looking forward to. We are a collaborative, open organisation keen to welcome new members and work with other organisations across our ecosystem for the benefit of all. Please do get in touch and get involved!”
Wealth8 partners with WealthKernel to launch investment app for black and multi-ethnic communities
WealthKernel, a wealthtech provider for digital investment services, has announced it has extended its partnership with inclusive investment service, Wealth8, which has migrated its investment offering to WealthKernel’s trusted APIs.
After initial success following its business launch earlier this year, Wealth8 is now using WealthKernel’s investment APIs to launch its new mobile app, which sees it benefit from increased flexibility, faster onboarding for its customers, and cross-platform functionality across its desktop and mobile user experiences. Its new investment app, available now in the UK, will support wealth creation, and provide financial education services for black and multi-ethnic investors in the UK.
Karan Shanmugarajah, CEO of WealthKernel, says: “Wealth8 is a prime example of how we as an industry should be tackling conversations around wealth, equality and inclusion. By helping bring more financial businesses like Wealth8 to market, we can bring investment and wealth creation services to underserved communities, while challenging the misconceptions that wealth management should be limited to those with significant amounts of money. We’re incredibly excited to be supporting Wealth8 on their journey, and wholeheartedly support their mission to tackle growing financial inequality across the UK”