A UK-based anti-fraud organisation, Cifas, has said that identity theft is reaching “epidemic levels” and those in their 30s are the most likely to be targetted. The heightened levels of ID theft are being fuelled by the amount of personal data being put online. According to the organisation, four of five ID theft crimes take place online and people affected are usually left unaware.
Simon Dukes, chief executive of Cifas, said:
“We have seen identity fraud attempts increase year on year, now reaching epidemic levels, with identities being stolen at a rate of almost 500 a day. These frauds are taking place almost exclusively online. The vast amounts of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches is only making it easier for the fraudster.”
Cifas has recorded 89,000 cases in the UK for the first six months of the year; this represents a 5% rise on the same period last year, and a new record high. Fraudsters have several ways of nabbing people’s data including, but not limited to, stealing mail, hacking computers, trawling social media, tricking people into handing over details, and buying data dumps on online markets, often through Tor.
In order to better protect yourself from ID theft, be careful what data you put online, including your birthdate and where you live, keep your anti-malware programs and firewall up to date, never share passwords or PINs, don’t use passwords or PINs on more than one account, and shred financial documents before throwing them away.