Thursday, 26 January 2012

Identity fraud biggest threat as number of scams soars


UK fraud levels increased by 9% last year, new figures revealed today, with identity scams the biggest contributor. Over 236,500 cases of frauds were identified during 2011– the highest number ever recorded, according to CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service. Nearly half of all cases were incidents of identity fraud, with some 113,000 cases reported to the CIFAS – up 10% on 2010. Facility takeover fraud – where a fraudster gains access to and uses a victim’s bank account or credit card for example – meanwhile has surged by nearly 300% in just five years and now accounts for 18% of all fraud. This means two data driven frauds make up over 58% of all frauds identified, CIFAS said. What’s more, the number of victims of both types of fraud combined has risen by 10% since 2010. Richard Hurley, CIFAS communications manager, said: ‘All organisations must recognise this threat, and review how they try to prevent such frauds: whether that is by reviewing their security procedures and increasing identification requirements when dealing with applications, or by ensuring that individuals regularly change passwords and PIN numbers’. Incidents of misuse facility fraud – where an account has been legitimately obtained but later used fraudulently – also increased some 13%. The number of false insurance claims recorded, however, has fallen 23% from 537 to 396 cases. According to CIFAS, these figures confirm that as austerity bites, economic crime continues to be a stealthy, insidious danger.