As if all the leaks and scandals weren’t enough to remind us to secure our data, fraud prevention organisation Cifas has just released a report letting us know that ID fraud was at an all-time high in the UK in 2017, with 95% of cases involving impersonation of an innocent person, and 8 out of 10 occurring online.
It gets better:
- More than a third of bank account takeover victims were over 60. Stay classy, scammers.
- Identity fraud is ‘only’ up 1% on 2016 — but 125% compared with 10 years ago
- There was a 27% increase in young people (14-24) having their accounts used as ‘money mules,’ knowingly or not
Lisa Baergen, director at NuData Security (a Mastercard company), says “All forms of identity fraud are appallingly high in the UK and the damage inflicted on the public continues to grow. Unless the UK wants to see these rates climb ever higher, institutions, governments, and private companies must take these threats as seriously as other forms of crime.”
No kidding. So what can we do about it?
- Only shop with well-known retailers and use safe payment systems to avoid passing your details to the merchant
- Use a strong, unique password at every site (here’s a good strong password generator)
- Don’t use public computers (like in libraries or universities) to do your shopping or banking
- Don’t use public WiFi for that either (and if you use public WiFi for anything, use WhatIsMyIPAddress to find a good way to hide your IP, ideally via a trustworthy VPN)
- Watch out for email and phone scams where people pretend to be from your bank — here’s a terrifying one we saw recently:
If the worst happens and you do become a victim of fraud in the UK, report it to Action Fraud — every report helps with catching the scammers.
You can read the full Cifas report here.