Identity theft reaches crisis level

According to figures released by the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS), identity theft is at an unprecedented level. Identity details like dates of birth, internet logins and postcodes, are now so abused that they account for 65% of reported fraud, according to the Fraudscape Bulletin 2012.

Richard Hurley from CIFAS said that they have been highlighting the fact of data being used by fraudsters for quite some time; however things are now becoming worse and say that new ways to safeguard personal data must be developed.

Earlier in the year it was announced that almost a million and a half accounts, usernames and passwords were stolen from Android Forum and Yahoo Voice users. Experian CreditExpert says the average person has 26 online accounts, with 24% of users having the same password for most accounts.

Experian Consumer Services recommend have different passwords for accounts to minimise risks. Having the same password means that if the information is stolen, fraudsters will be able to access all your details. In the first four months this year over 12 million pieces of data were traded online.

Mr Hurley went on to say that the majority of fraud is driven by personal data and identity details, signaling the need for things to change. Both individuals and organisations need to fight back.

A fifth of all fraud happens to be the misuse of bank accounts, a growing problem. This indicates that economic conditions are starting to propel individuals into drastic actions like evading payments and supplying false information.

Experian’s Nick Mothershaw commented on the fact that identity fraud is becoming worse with credit cards and many individuals consider giving false information when applying for insurance, one of the factors of the major fraud upswing that has shown itself in 2012’s first quarter.