03.08.09 Identity fraud soars in 2009

03.08.09 Identity fraud soars in 2009

New Cifas stats paint bleak picture for the UK’s financial institutions and card companies.

Identity fraud surged by nearly three quarters in the first half of the year, driven by continued malicious online activity, and the economic slowdown, according to new figures from UK fraud prevention service Cifas.

The organisation was set up to facilitate the sharing of information on identified fraud between its members – which include banks, card companies and insurance firms – in an attempt to prevent further rises in all types of fraud, including online.

It said identity fraud, which includes victims of impersonation as well as the creation of fictitious identities by fraudsters, rose 74 per cent in the first six months of 2009 to over 100,000 cases.

Facility take over fraud – where the fraudster gains access to a user’s account and siphons off funds – rose 40 per cent during the period with over 11,000 cases registered.

There was some good for fraud departments however, with Cifas reporting an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in the financial losses avoided through the fraud data sharing of its members.

“The rise in the numbers of victims, and these very specific types of fraud demonstrate that fraudsters have no regard for economic, social and personal fragility,” argued Cifas chief exeutive Peter Hurst.

“While we all look for solutions to the hardships imposed by the current climate, however, these figures focus attention sharply on what responsible businesses and public sector organisations can achieve through sharing data on proven frauds to reduce losses and ease the burden of the recession upon us all. ”

Although not broken out in the survey, it’s believed that much fraudulent activity committed today is card not present (CNP), including online, fraud.

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