Identity fraud continues to rise

29 October 2007
Despite heightened efforts by the authorities and organisations to protect people’s information and prevent identity fraud, CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service – has reported a rising trend for the third quarter of 2007 in cases of crime involving ID theft.

When compared to the same period in 2006, CIFAS found that 2007’s third quarter has seen a rise in most types of financial fraud. Application fraud, for example, whereby fraudsters apply for credit in someone else’s name by stealing their identity, increased by 23 per cent to 57,321 detected cases.

False insurance claims also increased during this period by almost nine per cent. Current Address Identity Fraud has sustained a high level of occurrences, representing almost a third of identity fraud cases, compared with 19 per cent during the same period last year. However, Previous Address Identity Fraud has seen a fall from representing a quarter of cases to 21 per cent this year.

The top five offenders within the realm of identity theft include the use of non-UK passports at 33 per cent, 16 per cent were carried out with stolen utility bills, stolen bank statements account for 10 per cent and stolen driving licences are to blame for seven per cent of cases, causing CIFAS to urge the public to be vigilant when it comes to taking responsibility for protecting themselves and for organisations to be vigilant in ensuring the applicant’s identity before they allow them credit.

As a result of the work done by CIFAS and its members – including banks and building societies – which has detected and recorded such frauds in order to prevent future cases, they have prevented financial losses of £1,900 per minute, compared to £1,400 per minute last year.

CIFAS Chief Executive, Peter Hurst, said “Our statistics for the first three quarters of the year show a clear and worrying trend. Fraudulent activity is at an all-time high. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and fraud departments are working harder than ever to protect their organisations from the onslaught.”

Find out more about and how to prevent identity fraud

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