If something unexpected turns up on your doorstep, it might be a gift. In which case, what a lovely surprise! But in some cases, it could be an item somebody’s bought by stealing your details (they just failed to intercept the spoils). Scarily, the latter scenario is more common than most of us think – so here’s some food for thought with recent identity theft and fraud statistics.
1) Identity fraud has reached dizzying heights and according to fraud prevention group Cifas, there were more than 189,000 cases in the UK in 2018.
2) Cifas also found that 65% of identity theft victims had a social media or online presence. Criminals simply scanned the web for readily available information like name, date of birth, email and telephone number – making this the number one method of obtaining personal details.
3) Fraudsters also rely heavily on phishing scams to get hold of personal details. Around 35% of identity theft can be traced back to this particular type of cybercrime.
4) Joint research by Cifas and data software innovator Forensic Pathways found more than 10,000 posts soliciting personal financial information for sale on the dark web.
5) According to a price list found on the dark web, PayPal logins are worth around £300 to an identity fraudster. The next hot ticket item are banking details, valued at £161. On the other hand, Deliveroo logins are quite literally a steal at just £3.74.
6) In 2018, Northern Ireland suffered the greatest increase in identity fraud with a 22% rise. London, however, had the most victims – more than 53,000 unwitting individuals discovered criminals had impersonated them to carry out fraudulent activity.
7) Figures from 2018 show that individuals aged 31-40 were most likely to be victims of impersonation compared to any other.
8) Plastic card identity fraud (such as getting hold of someone else’s credit card) increased by 41% from 2017 to 2018.
9) In 2018, the financial value of card identity theft was £47.3 million (a 59% increase from 2017).
10) Application fraud (where a criminal uses stolen identities to open a fake account) came to £29.4 million in 2018.
11) Account takeover fraud where criminals get hold of personal information to impersonate victims was valued at £17.9 million in 2018.
12) More than a third (38%) of online retail fraud is down to criminals using stolen identities to buy goods.
13) Insurance identity fraud was up 15% in 2018. This was partly down to the rise in ghost brokers (scammers who impersonate genuine insurance brokers) and by individuals using other people’s details to get a lower insurance quote.
14) And lastly, a positive stat to end on: identity fraud to obtain bank accounts fell by 12% in 2018.
Stay savvy and don’t be an identity theft statistic
Unsurprisingly, with these statistics in mind, more than half of the UK public are worried about becoming a victim to fraudsters. Figures from credit reference agency Equifax show that 54% of people were either fairly worried or very worried about identity theft.
But keeping your identity under wraps doesn’t mean you have to go to Batman-style lengths of secrecy! For tips and advice, here are 3 things you can do to protect yourself from financial fraud. Taking out a loan? Then take a look at how you can avoid loan fraud.
Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.