CIFAS reports a 27% rise in Identity fraud

Identity fraud has been identified as a key challenge for organisations and consumers accounting for nearly half (47%) of all fraud recorded in the first quarter of 2015. The threat is increasing and anyone can be a victim. This week CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention agency has revealed nearly a third increase in identity fraud. The number of recorded victims increased by 27% to 34,151 in the first 3 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

The internet has provided increasingly significant opportunities for identity fraudsters to exploit and 8 out of 10 identity thefts occurred online. Offenders’ preferred targets are credit cards (41% of identity fraud) and bank accounts (27% of identity fraud).

Fraudsters rely on victim complacency and it is the internet savvy generation and their increased reliance on the internet to access their finances that maybe increasingly at risk. CIFAS has reported that adults in their 20s have seen the most consistent increase each year (16% of all identity fraud victims) a 26% rise since 2014.

In a previous piece of work for a London­ based information privacy company, Perpetuity spoke to offenders with experience of exploiting personal information online to commit fraud.

We found that fraudsters can use a range of sites to gather information about individuals, including, Facebook and LinkedIn. They can make use of information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, work history, education history and photographs in order to defraud people. They can get hold of this information by creating fake profiles, paying for information from online databases, getting clues from information shared online and hacking in to emails.

It was also notable that some of this information can be obtained because of common mistakes that people make, such as accepting friend requests from people they don’t know, over­sharing information, not using privacy settings and giving out sensitive information by phone. The findings suggested that by sharing personal information online, individuals can present opportunities for fraudsters to exploit and misuse that information, and that more awareness and understanding is needed among the public about the risks and what action they can take to protect their personal information.

Click here to read more about our research into identity fraud.

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