Identity fraud is likely to gather pace over the coming year, according to credit reference agency Experian.
The credit reference agency found that 72% of ID fraud attempts in 2009 came in the second half of the year, with company directors and business owners said to be most at risk.
Not just rich pickings
The report suggests that while the wealthiest sections of society continue to be at high risk of identity fraud, fraudsters are increasingly looking to the mass-market for victims.
Experian also said that the number of ID fraud victims rose by 20% in 2009 compared with 2008, with over 5,000 identity fraud victims seeking help to reclaim their identities. London remained the UK’s crime hotspot area but Salford, Manchester and Cardiff were also vulnerable.
Fraud on the rise
‘Attempted fraud is on the increase and the nature of the threat is changing,’ said Nick Mothershaw of Experian.
‘Organised criminal fraudsters are moving into the mass-market, looking beyond those with obvious wealth towards lower-value but more vulnerable targets. At the same time, financial stress brought about by the recession is driving increasing numbers of people to commit fraud to maintain their lifestyles.’
Checking your credit file
Consumers can help protect themselves against identity fraud by obtaining their credit reports from the three credit reference agencies in the UK: Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. You can obtain your reports for £2 each both online or by post – visit the Which? guide to find out more.
If you’re worried about identity fraud, check the Which? guide on how to beat identity fraud and follow the tips in our video guide to see the key steps you should take to avoid falling victim to the fraudsters.
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