Identity fraud cases in the UK hit an all-time high in 2016, according to figures from not-for-profit data sharing and prevention agency Cifas.
A record 172,919 identity frauds were recorded in 2016 more than in any other previous year, according to cases logged on Cifas' national fraud data database by 277 organisations. Identity fraud now represents over half of all fraud recorded by Cifas, of which 88% was perpetrated online.
Fraudsters are using a variety of techniques to gain access to victims' bona fides, from stealing mail through to hacking; obtaining data on the ‘dark web’; exploiting personal information on social media, or though ‘social engineering’ where innocent parties are persuaded to give up personal information to someone pretending to be from their bank, the police or a trusted retailer.
City of London Commander Chris Greany, who acts as national co-ordinator for economic crime says: “With close to half of all crime now either fraud or cyber crime we all need to make sure we protect our identity.
“Identity fraud is the key to unlocking your valuables. Things like weak passwords or not updating your software are the same as leaving a window or door unlocked.”