ID fraud victims targeted at home addresses‘Alarming increase’ in current-address fraud

08 April 2010

Inland Revenue warns of online scam

Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, has announced that 2009 saw an ‘alarming increase’ in current-address fraud.

Current-address fraud is a type of ID crime that requires a superior level of sophistication from the perpetrator. It involves obtaining accurate personal information about a victim and impersonating them using details of their current, rather than a previous, address.

Current-address fraud makes false applications for credit seem more legitimate, and can help to make it much more difficult for businesses to detect identity crime.

Identity fraud increases

According to Cifas, identity fraud increased by 32% in 2009. Current-address fraud accounted for 55% of all identity fraud recorded last year, compared with just 31% in 2008.

This increase in current-address fraud represents what the fraud prevention service calls a ‘staggering 78% rise in just 12 months’.

Current-address fraud on bank accounts and plastic card accounts increased in 2009, Cifas says, with nearly 85% of the fraud committed on mail order accounts last year done by criminals in possession of victims’ current addresses.

Identity theft protection

Richard Hurley, CIFAS communications manager, commented: ‘Consumers must be increasingly aware and vigilant – and ensure that they protect all of their details.

‘Not only must consumers dispose of physical details in a secure manner, they must also ensure that sensitive electronic documents are kept separate from each other. Scanned documents and account details must, preferably, not be kept on computer hard drives but, more preferably, be backed up on discs. Full virus and malware protection products must also be in place.’

For more information on protecting yourself against identity fraud, read the Which? How to beat identity fraud advice guide and our Top tips for stopping identity theft.

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.