'Epidemic' of ID fraud sees 500 thefts every day

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 23, 2017

In the majority of the scams, fraudsters pretended to be someone to buy a product or take out a loan in someone else's name and often victims did not realise that they had been targeted until a bill arrived for something they did not buy or they experienced problems with their credit rating.

Simon Dukes, the Cifas chief executive, said: "We have seen identity fraud attempts increase year on year, now reaching epidemic levels, with identities being stolen at a rate of nearly 500 a day ..." A total of 89,201 ID frauds were reported in the United Kingdom from January to June, up by 5 per cent on the same period previous year, with 83 per cent of them perpetrated online.

While more than half of all identity fraud cases involve bank accounts and plastic cards, the latest figures show a sharp rise in incidents involving motor insurance: 2,070 during the latest six months, compared with 20 during the same period in 2016.

Simon Dukes, the Cifas chief executive, said: "The vast amount of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches is only making it easier for the fraudster".

Fraud prevention body Cifas said criminals were "relentlessly" targeting consumers and businesses by fraudulently applying for loans, online shopping, telecoms and insurance products in their names.

"These frauds are taking place nearly exclusively online".

'For smaller and medium-sized businesses in particular, they must focus on educating staff on good cyber security behaviours and raise awareness of the social engineering techniques employed by fraudsters. Relying exclusively on new fraud prevention technology is not enough'.

Cifas said the number of identity fraud attempts against bank accounts and plastic cards had fallen by 14 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, they still account for more than half of all cases - almost 55,000.

Additional details such as bank and other account information can be bought on the "dark web", the criminal side of the internet, for little cost, or obtained through "social engineering".

The new figures suggest people aged between 31 and 40 and 41 and 50 are most likely to fall victim to impersonation scams, with 18,916 and 18,338 cases in the two age groups respectively.

Cifas data is included in official crime statistics, and every day it sends about 800 fraud cases to the City of London police for potential investigation.

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