Sharp Rise In Identity Theft Among Young UK Adults

There has been a dramatic rise in the number young people falling victim to identity fraud, according to statistics published today.

In 2015, nearly 24,000 young UK adults were victims of identify fraud, up from around 16,000 in 2014. This is a 52 percent surge, and more than double the amount of under-30 victims in 2010, which was 11,000.

The figures were published by Cifas, a UK-based fraud prevention service, which wants to raise awareness around identity theft and promote better education around fraud and financial crime.

Fraudsters

Identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name.

Often victims do not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters usually have access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with.

Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, including through hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together. According to Cifas, 86 per cent of all identity frauds in 2015 were perpetrated online.

But despite the rise, the 21-30 age group wasn’t the largest pool of victims in 2015. The number of Brits aged between 51 and 60 who fell victim to identity fraud rose 60 percent in 2015, up to 28,366 from 17,698. This age group age group has the highest number of victims. The number of victims over 60 rose 52 percent to 25,934 in 2015, up from 17,063 the year before.

Under 21s were the least affected, with only 1,343 victims in 2015, compared to 916 in 2014.
The research reveals that for victims aged 21-30, London was the UK’s hotspot for identity theft last year, with 4,280 victims. Manchester came in second place, with 781 victims. And Glasgow seemed to be the safest city, reporting only 245 victims.

Simon Dukes, CEO of Cifas, warned young people against sharing too much information on social media, one of the easiest methods of stealing someone’s identity.
“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,” said Dukes.

“We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share. Social media is fantastic and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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