Experts at Cifas, a service that gathers information from hundreds of financial firms, fear a lack of awareness about the crime is making it easier for conmen who use social media as their “hunting ground”.
The figures, released today, show the number of 21 to 30-year-olds in Leeds falling victim to the crime went up from 190 in 2014 to 302 in 2015.
Only London and Manchester saw greater percentage increases in that age group, and the 59 per cent rise in Leeds was seven per cent above the national increase of 52 per cent.
Cifas said criminals glean personal information from social media and hack into private systems to get personal details to use in bank loan applications.
Chief executive Simon Dukes said: “As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.
“The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves. We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share.”
Cifas said the overall number of victims of identity fraud rose by 57 per cent during 2015. The largest rises were seen among the 31-40 and 51-60 age groups, with rises of 64 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. But the number of victims aged 30 and under more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.
An awareness film, also released today, shows how much personal information researchers can gather within three minutes about cafe customers who have been asked to like the business’s Facebook page.