Identity Fraud – Is Your Data To Go?

Identity fraud is on the rise, according to new data published by the UK’s leading fraud prevention service Cifas. In particular the number of young identity fraud victims increased by 52% last year, as fraudsters turned to social media to gather valuable personal data. These findings coincide with the release of new short film ‘Data to Go’, designed to raise awareness of how easy it is for identity thieves to steal data. The stunt, filmed in a London coffee shop in March, shows baffled reactions from customers as their personal details are revealed on a coffee cup after ‘liking’ a Facebook page for free coffee.

Filmed using hidden cameras, people are asked to ‘like’ a coffee shop’s Facebook page in exchange for a free coffee and croissant. Whilst the customer waits, a team of researchers trawl through public websites and find personal information and data on the victims in just 3 minutes. Customers stand in shock as they find their barista, who’s just been fed all the information from the ‘van’, knows everything about them. The video proves that a fraudster could research your identity in the time it takes to make a coffee.

Simon Dukes, Cifas Chief Executive, said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.

“The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves.”

The published data also reveals results from a survey that found young people are alarmingly unaware that they are at risk:

  • Only 34 per cent of 18-24 year olds say they learnt about online security when they were at school
  • 50 per cent of the 18-24 year olds surveyed believe they would never fall for an online scam (compared to the national average of 37 per cent)
  • Only 57 per cent of 18-24 year olds report thinking about how secure their personal details are online (compared to 73 per cent for the population as a whole)

Cifas’ research shows overall the number of identity fraud victims rose by 57% last year, highlighting the importance of identity protection. Think twice before you share your information online and ensure you set your privacy settings correctly. For more information on how to stay safe online see our 5 top tips.

Who is Cifas?

Cifas aims to make the UK a safer place to do business, by enabling organisations in every sector to prevent fraud and protect the public through the sharing of confirmed fraud data. Cifas is a not-for-profit organisation and has over 360 members spanning the public and private sectors. In 2015 alone, Cifas members prevented over £1.1 billion of avoidable fraud losses by using Cifas databases.  For more information visit www.cifas.org.uk.