Online retail identity fraud soars

Online retail identity fraud in the UK has risen by more than 50 per cent in the first six months of 2017, new figures have shown.

The data from Cifas, a UK fraud prevention service, shows that identity fraud has continued to rise at record levels in H1 2017. A record 89,000 identity frauds were recorded during this period, up five per cent from last year. Representing over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation, 83 per cent of identity frauds were perpetrated online.

The latest figures show there has been a sharp rise in identity fraudsters applying for loans, online retail, telecoms and insurance products. And although the number of identity fraud attempts against bank accounts and plastic cards has fallen these still account for more than half of all identity fraud cases.

Online retail identity fraud rose from 3,271 in H1 2016 to 5,097 in H1 2017, a 55.8 per cent increase. Meanwhile, identity fraud from plastic cards fell 12 per cent during this period, from 33,939 to 29,852.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of Cifas, said: “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. 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.”

Head of the City of London Police’s economic crime directorate, detective superintendent Glenn Maleary, added: “We urge consumers and businesses to be conscious of identify fraudsters and to use our protection advice to help stop them in their tracks. We continue to work with banks, retailers and other members of industry to disrupt fraudsters activity however we also realise it is our responsibility to help advise consumers and businesses around these types of issues.”

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