Alert as fraudsters 
steal more identities 
on internet

New figures for the first nine months of this year show the internet is increasingly being used by criminals to commit identity fraud.

Of the 95,060 identity frauds recorded during the first nine months of 2012 in the UK, 83 per cent were attempted or carried out online – up from 71 per cent during the same period in 2011.

Last night experts warned that as the internet is increasingly being used by businesses and consumers there is a greater risk that more people will fall prey to fraudsters unless they take steps to protect themselves while online.

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Richard Hurley, communication manager at Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention agency, which has produced the latest figures said: “The fact that the internet has revolutionised our society and the ways in which individuals and businesses conduct themselves is hardly news. The convenience and speed that it can offer – when compared with previous business models or ways of conducting transactions – is one of the internet’s prime benefits.

“It is easy to forget, however, that the convenience it offers genuine customers is also provided to those less scrupulous.

“Fraudsters and criminals mimic consumer behaviour, so as more of our transactions take place online, so will more of the fraud. This is a warning, therefore, to consumers and organisations that changing their own practices and behaviour is one way in which they can avoid falling victim to fraudsters.”

The organisation said the latest figures also underline the need to be increasingly internet savvy and careful with personal details. It says as more genuine business and fraud takes place online, it is reasonable to assume that it is the same channel that is providing fraudsters with the data and personal details they need to attempt identity fraud.

Mr Hurley added: “Initial analysis of fraud figures in 2012 demonstrates that plastic card accounts and mail order goods suppliers are favoured targets for fraudsters.”

People are being urged to think about the personal details they post online. Get Safe Online week runs from October 22-26 and will highlight ways individuals can protect themselves. For further information visit www.getsafeonline.org