Identity theft climbs by a third

More than 80 per cent of identity-theft attacks occurred online, Cifas says

credit card

Identity theft remains the leading cause of fraud in the UK, climbing by a third - with nearly all cases in the first quarter of this year being carried out or attempted online.

In the first quarter of the year, more than 32,000 people fell victim to identity theft, according to fraud prevention agency Cifas - an increase of 31 per cent from last year - while the total instances of this type of fraud rose 27 per cent.

Identity theft now accounts for nearly half of all recorded cases of fraud, according to Cifas, with credit cards (41 per cent) and bank accounts (27 per cent) being "the identity criminals' preferred targets".

While the average age for identity fraud victims is 46, Cifas' research shows criminals are increasingly targeting those in the 21-30 age-range. This group accounted for 16 per cent of all ID theft victims, an increase of 26 per cent from the same time last year.

More than 80 per cent of all ID theft took place online in Q1 2015, which is on a par with overall trends recorded by Cifas in its Fraudscape report, published in March.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Clark, from the City of London Police, said: "Identity fraud is at the heart of much of today's criminality, acting as a key facilitator for a host of other types of offences. To stop this from happening we must all take responsibility for protecting our personal information, especially when working and playing online."

"By following some simple procedures, such as creating strong passwords, protecting internet connected devices with up-to-date security software and not sharing too much personal information online, we can make life much more difficult for the identity fraudsters and ensure fewer of us fall victim to what is a highly disruptive and upsetting crime," Clark said.

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