There has been a significant increase in the number of fraudsters making applications for credit using other people’s identities since the start of 2009, according to a new report.
According to data from National Hunter, a fraud prevention database operated by Experian, the number of criminals using stolen details to apply for credit cards, loans, automotive finance and mortgages has risen steadily throughout 2009.
Identity theft on the increase
In the first three months of 2009, there were 11.91 cases of identity fraud per 10,000 credit applications. This increased to 12.72 cases per 10,000 applications between April and June.
In the third quarter of 2009, the number of identity fraud cases per 10,000 credit applications had risen to 13.37 – representing an increase of 12.3% since January.
Darryl Bowman, spokesperson for CreditExpert, said: ‘The surge in cases of identity fraud is very worrying. As we get wiser to protecting ourselves from fraud, it’s clear that criminals are working even harder to steal our personal details so they can apply for credit.
‘Missing post, unexpected phone calls and strange emails are all signs we look out for and know suggest potentially fraudulent activity.’
Protect yourself from identity fraud
Which? Money editor James Daley said: ‘Identity fraud is a growing problem, and many people worry about the safety of their finances – particularly if they are operating accounts online.
‘However, as is so often the case with money matters, knowledge is power. Following a few simple rules to keep your identity safe will reduce the likelihood that you’ll become a victim of fraud, as well as offer you valuable peace of mind.’
Check out the free Which? guides to protecting yourself from identity fraud and for more information on keeping yourself safe from credit crime. If you operate your current account online, make sure you find out how your bank’s security systems measure up in our online banking security review.
Regularly checking your credit report is also a key way to ensure you’re aware of any applications for loans or credit cards that are made in your name. You can find out how to do this in the Which? guide to checking your credit file.
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