Fraudulent applications for credit and other financial services leapt by 11% in 2010 compared to 2009 (with some big regional differences), according to the latest figures from Experian*:
- Identity fraudsters accounted for more than 80% of fraud attempts (this is where criminals try to use real people’s details to run up credit in their victim’s name).
- Seven in every 10,000 applications for a loan were an attempted fraud (up from five in every 10,000 applications in 2009).
- Identity fraudsters were responsible for 60% of attempted loan frauds.
- 19 in every 10,000 credit-card applications were fraudulent in 2010.
- Current-address fraud was the most popular fraud type – this is where fraudsters use their victim’s current address details and intercept or redirect their mail to stop them finding out.
Big increase in ordinary people attempting fraud
There’s also been a huge increase in first-party fraud – where someone knowingly creates a false picture of their circumstances to try and secure credit. This accounted for 56% of detected fraud attempts in 2010, up from 39% in 2009.
Avoid becoming an ID fraud victim
With fraud attempts on the increase, it’s more important than ever to make sure criminals aren’t using your personal details and attempting to land you with the bill:
- Don’t reveal too much on social networking sites, fraudsters use personal details like age, maiden names or pets names to guess private passwords.
- Keep PINS and passwords private, memorise details rather than writing them down and never give account details to anyone else.
- Make sure online security settings and firewalls are updated regularly.
- If an email seems suspicious contact the relevant organisation and don’t give out personal details.
- Check your credit report regularly, it’s a history of all your credit accounts and will highlight any irregularities such as suspect applications for credit in your name.
- Read your bank statements for irregularities and then shred them.
*Source: Experian Fraud Report 2011. The Experian Fraud Report 2010 is an analysis of information from the National Hunter anti-fraud data sharing system and the Insurance Hunter database.