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Online Dominates as UK ID Fraud Hits Record High

Identify fraud soared 5% from last year to reach record levels in the first six months of the year, with online scams comprising the vast majority, according to new figures from Cifas.

The anti-fraud non-profit said its members recorded 89,000 incidents in the first half of 2017, with online fraud now accounting for 83%.

Identity fraud is now the most common fraud type, comprising over half (56%) of all incidents reported to Cifas, the organization claimed.

Fraud grew particularly in cases involving loan applications ( 54%) online retail ( 56%), telecoms ( 61%) and insurance (10,250%).

However, scams involving bank accounts (-14.2%) and plastic cards (-12%) fell during the period.

Cifas CEO, Simon Dukes, said SMEs in particular need to educate staff on how to spot social engineering attempts to trick them into divulging sensitive customer information.

“We have seen identity fraud attempts increase year on year, now reaching epidemic levels, with identities being stolen at a rate of almost 500 a day,” he added.

“These frauds are taking place almost exclusively online. The vast amounts of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches is only making it easier for the fraudster.”

Rob Wilkinson, corporate security specialist at Smoothwall, argued that firms also need to look at potential weak points in suppliers and partners to keep customer data secure.

“They need to comply with regulation and build a layered security defense which spans encryption, firewalls, web filtering and ongoing threat monitoring as well as a proactive stance,” he added.

“But the public have a role to play too; they need to be incredibly careful about the information they share online. It can be very easy to pool this information and use it to build a profile which can be used for social engineering. Even something as simple as an email address and password can be all they need to cause financial and reputational damage."

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