Identities stolen for two-thirds of frauds

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Two-thirds of all frauds are now linked to the abuse of identity details new figures for the first six months of this year have revealed.

Last night businesses and individuals were warned that personal details are an increasingly important commodity that can allow criminals to set up accounts, take out loans or rack up debt in somebody else’s name or hack into somebody’s bank account and steal or launder money through it.

In the first six months of this year members of CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, recorded almost 114,000 confirmed frauds. Of these two out of three were linked to the abuse of personal details.

Richard Hurley, CIFAS communications manager, said: “With two-thirds of all recorded fraud now relating to the abuse of identity details, the message is clearer than ever.

“Organisations and individuals must develop new ways of safeguarding their personal data, otherwise they effectively provide the fraudster with a licence to steal money.”

Earlier this year figures obtained by the Yorkshire Post showed there were more than 55,000 cases of personal fraud, including identity theft, recorded at homes across the region in 2012.

According to the CIFAS figures overall fraud levels have decreased slightly by three per cent compared with the same period in 2012 but it warned the problem remains a serious concern.

Mr Hurley added: “Identity details and personal data are now driving the vast majority of fraudulent activity, and this signals the need to change processes, protection and attitudes fundamentally. The shifts in targets for fraudsters also underlines that where improved security measures are introduced, fraud simply migrates elsewhere, so all organisations must be prepared to be targeted in new ways.

“Fraud, unfortunately, is a crime that shows no sign of disappearing; organisations and individuals must therefore find a way of staying one step ahead of the fraudsters.”