Credit reports offer safeguard to rising cases of identity fraud

12 October 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Following new data released from CIFAS about the rising trend of identity fraud, the UK's fraud prevention service is encouraging consumers to protect their identities.

To mark National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, CIFAS has launched a report, The Anonymous Attacker, which outlines how individuals and businesses are affected by identity fraud and how they can to protect themselves.

Among other things, the report includes case studies, statistics, research, and prevention tips, to bring greater awareness about identity fraud, including the different types such as account takeover fraud.

The report shows how cases of identity fraud continue to rise, partly due to the recession, with more people turning to the use of a stolen or false identity to obtain goods or services by deception.

Overall, cases of identity fraud increased by 33 per cent in the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same time last year, with a 36 per cent increase in victims of impersonation, to 59,000 cases, while account takeover has risen 23 per cent in the same period, but by a "staggering" 238 per cent in the last two years, CIFAS' report shows.

Of account takeover cases, one in two have involved victims' debit or credit cards, and instances of mobile phone account takeovers have already more than doubled this year compared to 2008 levels.

CIFAS has offered tips on how consumers can protect themselves from becoming victims of identity fraud, such as getting a credit report to keep an eye on their accounts – this will show them if a financial product, such as a loan, credit card or mobile phone contract, has been applied for in their name without their knowledge.

Peter Hurst, chief executive at CIFAS said of the report: "Fraud is an insidious crime. Not only does it affect consumers and businesses financially, but its impact in terms of reputation, trust and time are unquantifiable.

"In partnership with other industry participants, this report lays bare the facts. It is only through such collaboration that the continued fight against fraud can be won. Not only is fraud prevention a shared responsibility but it must also become a shared duty across both private and public sectors."

In response to rising customer concern about identity fraud, with 76 per of people now worried about become a victim, Lloyds TSB has launched a campaign of awareness as part of its new ID Aware service.

The new ID protection product will keep customers informed about their credit status, providing a credit monitoring service, an early warning system to alert customers to any significant account activity, enabling them to see their credit status and payment history in one document, and offering expert help if they do fall victim to a fraudster.

Commenting on the new ID Aware service, Jatin Patel, spokesperson for Lloyds TSB said: "As technology improves, it gets easier and easier for criminals to steal our identities and during tough economic times the temptation becomes greater. Protecting ourselves by shredding documents and protecting passwords is a good start, but having someone else keep an eye on your ID offers extra peace of mind."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd