Dyfed-Powys Police is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of identity fraud, particularly amongst younger people. A leading fraud prevention service, Cifas, has launched a short film called Data to Go and associated social media activity to highlight how easily fraudsters can get hold of personal information through what you share online.
The film features a coffee shop that used hidden cameras to capture baffled reactions from people caught in a stunt where their personal data, all found on public websites, is revealed to them live on a coffee cup.
The aim is to highlight new figures showing a 53per cent increase in young identity fraud victims in the UK. In 2015, just under 24,000 (23,959) people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.
Paul Callard, Financial Crime Team Supervisor, for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “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. We are urging people to check their privacy settings 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.”
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. 86 per cent of all identity frauds in 2015 were perpetrated online.
People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud but with growing numbers of young people falling victim, Cifas is calling for better education around fraud and financial crime.
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. Society, government and industry all have a role in preventing fraud, however our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need.”