Identity fraud reaches record levels

Date: 2017-03-16

Latest statistics from fraud prevention organisation Cifas show that identity fraud reached record levels in 2016, with young people a growing target for identity thieves.

The figures, compiled from 277 organisations, show almost 173,000 recorded frauds in 2016 - the highest level since records began 13 years ago.

2016 saw a 34% increase in identity theft victims aged under 21, with Cifas calling for better education around fraud and financial crime for young people who they are urging to be vigilant about protecting their personal data.

2016 also saw increases in victims aged over 40, with 1,869 more victims recorded.

Cifas deputy chief executive Mike Haley warned that more caution was needed when it came to protecting personal data.

"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."

According to Cifas, the vast majority of identity fraud takes place when a fraudster pretends to be an individual, so as to buy a product or take out a loan in their name.

Fraudsters get hold of the necessary personal material by stealing mail, computer hacking, obtaining data on the dark web, and exploiting personal information on social media.

Read the full press release from Cifas here and find identity protection tips from Cifas Deputy Chief Executive, Mike Haley here