Recent figures released by CIFAS showed that almost 114,000 confirmed frauds were recorded to its database in the first half of 2013. Two out of every three of these were either identify fraud or account takeover fraud.
Identity fraud accounted for 52 per cent of all fraud in the first half of this year, with account takeover – which sees existing account data used to hijack the running of someone’s account –making up 14 per cent of the cases.
Overall fraud was shown to be down 3 per cent from the second half of 2012, but identity fraud had increased compared to the previous six-month period. CIFAS is warning of the importance of protecting valuable data and ensuring it does not fall into the hands of identity thieves.
Richard Hurley, CIFAS communications manager, said organisations need to invest in pre-emptive measures to combat fraud and follow best practice. Companies and the public are urged to treat data like a precious item that needs to be protected.
He said: “While it is vitally important that all organisations protect the data that they hold, and do all that they can to prevent fraud (from using the latest technologies to better use of data), individuals also have a vital role to play in keeping data safe.
“From adopting good practice in terms of online security (keeping firewalls and anti-virus programmes fully updated), to making sure that information is not needlessly divulged, we all can offer the first line of defence against fraudsters.”
“Organisations must always play their part, and CIFAS always calls for them to invest in strong preventative measures to combat fraud,” added Hurley.
Crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers launched a campaign earlier this week to track down 25 of the UK’s most-wanted identity thieves as part of its 25th anniversary. The rogues are accused of attempting to steal identifies of UK nationals to engage in serious criminal activity.
Crimestoppers director of operations, Roger Critchell, said: “We need to protect ourselves from such criminals particularly now with data driven identity crimes now making up the vast majority of all fraud in the UK. “
You can see details of Crimestoppers identity fraud campaign and pictures of the 25 individuals here.