Identity Theft….The Growing Problem
Statistics published yesterday by fraud prevention agency Cifas show that the number of UK individuals affected by identity theft rose by a third in the first quarter of 2015.
Cifas said that 32,058 people fell victim in the first three months of 2015, up 31% year-on-year. 80% of these instances were conducted online.
Identity theft typically involves cyber criminals using or selling personal data, including credit card details, to purchase products or services, or to create fake identities. On the dark net and in ‘fraud forums’, credit card details – including the three-digit security code and the personal information required to make online transactions – can be purchased for as little as £5.
Simon Dukes, Cifas chief executive, said:
“What these figures show is that identity fraud continues to be the most serious fraud threat and that the first quarter of the year has been a very profitable one for organised identity criminals.
“Fraud figures fluctuate over time, as fraudsters adapt and try new ways of achieving their aims. Our data is just the tip of the iceberg – more needs to be done to identify the true scale of fraud in the UK and educate individuals about the dangers and the steps that can be taken to protect themselves.”
According to Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, this type of crime costs individuals in the UK “billions of pounds every year”.
When going online, handle your personal information with care. Use strong passwords on websites and don’t re-use them; don’t give out personal information on social networking sites and ensure that your computer’s security programs are up to date.
Identity theft is an unpleasant experience and unfortunately it’s on the rise. Stay vigilant and don’t make it easy for the cyber criminals.
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