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Identity fraud hits record high at almost 175,000 cases

Which? shares top tips how to spot identity fraud and report it

Identity fraud hits record high at almost 175,000 cases

Identity fraud hit an all-time high of almost 175,000 cases in 2017 with 95% of cases involving the impersonation of an innocent victim, according to a new Cifas report.

While the increase in the number of identity frauds recorded was only a 1% increase compared with 2016, the 174,523 figure represents a 125% increase compared with 10 years ago.

How do I know if someone is using my identity?

Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception.

The first you learn of ID fraud could be when you get a bill or invoice for something you haven’t ordered, or when you have letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

Learn more about identity fraud including tips on how to avoid it and how to report identity fraud if you think your identity has been stolen.

Criminals use a range of tactics to commit identity fraud and open bank accounts in your name – either to house the proceeds of a scam they’ve successfully carried out, to drain your overdraft or to apply for loans and credit cards in your name.

Increase in money mule activity

The key findings from the Cifas’ annual report, Fraudscape, also revealed that there was a 27% increase in 14 to 24-year-olds becoming ‘money mules’.

Overall, bank accounts identified as being used as ‘mule’ accounts were up by 11%.

Criminals are continuing to target younger people – there was a 27% growth in the number of people aged 14 to 24 who have been identified as carrying out this type of fraud.

Safeguard us from scams

Fraud is now at record levels, with more than 5m scams costing Britons a mind-boggling £9bn each year.

And while there are sensible steps we can all take to protect ourselves, an unfair burden has been placed on the public. We’re calling on the government, regulators and businesses to do more to safeguard us all from scams – sign to force action on scams.

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