More than half of all frauds relate to the theft or misuse of personal and account information, according to the latest figures from CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service.
A significant 57% of all the frauds recorded in the first nine months of 2011 relate to the theft and misuse of data. This happens when fraudsters impersonate innocent victims to obtain products or services in their name, also known as identity fraud.
The new figures from CIFAS members also found a 12% increase in the level of misuse of facility fraud – where an account, policy or other facility has been legitimately obtained but is later used fraudulently. Fraudsters can commit facility takeover fraud by computer crimes such as computer hacking, phishing or by intercepting a credit card or debit card. Another example of this could be money muling, where victims allow their personal bank accounts to be used to receive personal cheques or electronic payments.
Protect yourself from account takeover
- Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
- If you are concerned about the source of an unsolicited phone call purporting to be from your bank or other financial provider, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call your bank back on a legitimate phone number printed on your bank statements.
- Check your statements regularly, including bank and credit card statements and the accounts of other financial services you take out, such as store cards.
- Check your credit file regularly – this will help you to check whether fraudsters have opened up new accounts using your name. Reputable credit reference agencies include Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
- Look at your credit file closely. If you find entries from organisations you don’t normally deal with, contact them immediately. Remember to keep a record of your actions, including the people you’ve spoken to and when, and keep copies of all letters you send and receive.
If you have been the victim of any type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
Read more about the latest CIFAS figures on the CIFAS website.
Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online reporting tool.
Identity theft and fraud