Identity theft linked to 60% of UK fraud in 2013

The misuse of the personal data of victims, accounted for more than 60% of all fraud in the UK in 2013, a study reveals

Fraud involving the misuse of the personal data of victims, accounted for more than 60% of all fraud in the UK in 2013, according to the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Cifas.

This confirms that the misuse and abuse of personal data is the most severe challenge to organisations and individuals, said the latest Fraudscape report.

Despite the deployment of refreshed security approaches and technical solutions to fraud threats in recent years, the report said more than 129,500 victims of identity-related crimes were recorded in 2013.

This underlines that there is more work to be done by organisations in terms of education and in some cases data security, and by individuals to ensure safer online behaviour becomes automatic, the report said.

The report also notes significant changes in the products targeted by fraudsters in 2013 when compared with previous years.

Credit and store cards were the most targeted by fraudsters in 2013, accounting for 30% of all frauds, up by 24% from 2012.

Mortgage fraud also increased 26% and loan fraud was up 55%, but fraud against bank accounts decreased by 14%.

The report said the internet remained a key fraud enabler, with more than 90% of identity fraud involving plastic card accounts committed online.

This demonstrates that the digital world is a battleground that organisations must take into account carefully when refining their anti-fraud policy, the report said.

Overall fraud levels decreased in 2013 by 11% compared with 2012, but the report warns that this is no cause for celebration.

The report highlights that the reduction came after two years of steep increases in fraud levels and the unprecedented figure of almost 250,000 frauds recorded in 2012.

This means the 2013 figure remained largely in line with the patterns witnessed since 2009 and above the levels recorded before the beginning of the recession, Cifas said.

More than 221,000 frauds were recorded in 2013, which equates to more than 600 a day.

Cifas said this provides a “frightening” indication of what true UK fraud levels really are, given the number of public and private sector organisations that do not yet participate in joined up, counter-fraud systems.

“Organisations - both public and private sector - that are not putting counter fraud measures in place and sharing their expertise and data are making it more difficult for the UK to defeat fraud," said Richard Hurley, communications manager at Cifas.

 “While any reduction in fraud is good, this report demonstrates that the fraudsters have merely changed tactics. It is up to the collective efforts of the UK’s public and private sectors therefore to do more to do to protect its reputation as a safe place to do business,” he said.

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