Businesses have been warned to be on their guard after the latest figures suggest occurrences of identity fraud are soaring.
According to fraud prevention body CIFAS, overall fraud levels shot up 10 per cent in the first nine months of 2012, with frauds recorded by its 260 members rising from 170,000 to 190,000 year on year.
Most worryingly, incidents of identity fraud – where the fraudster mimics a victim to obtain products or services – ballooned 16.5 per cent to 95,000. Account takeover fraud skyrocketed 73 per cent.
Identity fraud has been held up as a growing threat to channel firms and CIFAS said that nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of all frauds in the UK now relate to the misuse of identity details.
Richard Hurley, communications manager at CIFAS – whose members are spread across sectors including banking, credit cards, asset finance and the public sector – urged individuals and businesses to review how they approach data and information.
"The simple fact is that, to commit these frauds, the criminals need personal details that they can use to impersonate someone or take over their accounts," he said.
"These crimes therefore relate directly to the ‘identity' of the victim – meaning that businesses must be aware that the threat currently causing the biggest, and most damaging, consequences for them is identity crime. Organisations must take this as a sign that they need to strengthen counter-fraud measures in terms of validating that applicants, telephone callers and transactions are genuine, otherwise the scale of the problem will only grow."
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