ID theft biggest fraud threat, says Cifas

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ID theft biggest fraud threat, says Cifas

Warwick Ashford

The fraudulent use of stolen or fictitious identity details is the biggest fraud threat, according to the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Cifas.

Analysis of fraud trends in 2012 revealed 50% of all frauds identified during the year relate to the impersonation of an innocent victim or the use of completely false identities.

Account takeover fraud, where a fraudster gains access to and hijacks the running of an account through the theft of security details rocketed by 53% compared with the previous year to 38,428 incidents.

Personal details are stolen by using various methods including computer hacking and social engineering through popular websites and other methods.

Frauds where the criminal requires identity details accounted for almost 65% of all frauds in 2012. The number of victims of all identity fraud was up by 24% from the levels in 2011.

“These increases serve as a warning and a challenge to organisations and consumers equally,” said Kate Beddington-Brown, head of communications at Cifas.

Despite the fact that organisations have invested heavily in security to ensure that extra steps are taken to validate the identity of people, identity crimes have continued to rise which demonstrates that more must be done, she said.

“For individuals, it is obvious that fraud relating to personal data is an immense criminal trade so, fundamentally, we all have to do all we can to ensure that we also protect ourselves from becoming a victim, as well as demanding that the organisations we deal with take their security responsibilities seriously,” said Beddington-Brown.

Cifas chief executive Peter Hurst said fraud prevention remains better than cure.

“It is time for all organisations and consumers to start reviewing their approaches to preventing fraud rather than just dealing with its effects.

“Investment in proper fraud prevention systems and approaches, from online security to data sharing, and education are the cornerstones of such an approach. Without them, the only thing that is guaranteed is an ever increasing fraud losses to organisations and society at large, he said.


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