A new study reveals that UK consumers have the highest risk of becoming victims of identity fraud when compared to citizens of other European countries. The survey was commissioned on behalf of Fellowes, the office products firm, as part of National Identity Fraud Month. It discovered that in the UK one out of every four adults in the study had been a victim of identity fraud in some manner.
This makes the average in the UK about 24%, whereas the national average for Europe is 17%. Even more startling is the fact that about three quarters of the UK population had been exposed to identity fraud tactics in some way. The most common way that UK citizens were exposed to fraudulent activity was through fake emails that were supposedly mailed from a recipient’s bank.
These emails are part of a scam called phishing in which the recipient is asked to provide personal information in order to update their bank account. Of course, the personal information is then used as part of a broader identity fraud scheme. According to the research, the prevalence rate for this type of scam within the UK is 52% compared to the much lower prevalence rate of 31% for all of Europe.
In addition, one out of ten Britons have been subject to the same phishing scams that take place through the actual post. These scams also include fraudsters asking for personal details they can then use to commit fraud.
More worrisome perhaps is the fact that the study showed that 47% of people in the UK have not taken basic precautions to protect their identity such as making sure that they shred all documents that contain their personal details or information on them. On average it takes UK victims a stunning seven months before they realize their identities have been stolen.