identity fraud has reached record levels, it has never been more important to protect your details online

Identity fraud reaches highest levels since records began

  • 172,919 incidents of identity fraud last year – the highest level since records began
  • 25,000 victims of fraud were under 30, with the number of under-21s affected rising by a third
  • Identity fraud makes up 53.3% of all fraud recorded by Cifas, of which 88% occurred online
  • 9 out of 10 identity frauds committed were online in 2016

Young people have become a growing target for identity fraud, which has reached record levels since they first began thirteen years ago.

The number of under-21s being defrauded last year increased from 1,343 in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.

According to Cifas, the vast majority of identity fraud cases happen when the fraudster pretends to be an individual, buying products or taking out credit in their name.

Stealing personal information from letter boxes, hacking computers, obtaining data on the dark web and exploiting personal information on social media, fraudsters have all the necessary personal information they need to commit identity fraud.

Cifas advise that consumers shred any important documents when disposing of them, use strong passwords and have anti-virus software installed on their computers.

People are also being urged to limit the amount of personal information they give away on social media.

“With nine out of 10 identity frauds committed online and with all age groups at risk, we are urging everyone to make it more difficult for fraudsters to abuse their identity.

“We all remember to protect our possessions through locking our house or flat or car but we don’t take the same care to protect our most important asset – our identities.” – Mike Haley, Cifas deputy chief executive

How to protect yourself from identity fraud

  • Keep the amount of information you give away on social media to a bare minimum. Your real friends and family know where you live and what date your birthday is
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spy programmes on home computers. Around 80% of cyber threats can be removed by adding this type of software
  • Use strong passwords using a mixture of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, ensuring your password is at least ten characters long
  • Never use the same password twice and do not share the information with anyone else
  • Don’t write passwords down or store them in your phone
  • Shred all financial documents before disposing of them

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