Experian advises keeping friends close but fraudsters closer
Experian, the global information services company, has revealed that family frequently comes under suspicion in cases of fraud and that one in three victims claim to know the identity of their fraudster. Those with the easiest access to personal details are amongst the most likely to be accused in cases of identity fraud.
More than 5,000 identity fraud victims sought help from Experian in reclaiming their identities in 2009. Experian’s analysis shows that one in three fraud victims (31%) claimed to know who hijacked their identity and of those, over two thirds (69%) suspected a family member in cases of ID fraud. This is according to the Victims of Fraud Insight Report released in March 2010.
The statistics which were highlighted to coincide with National Identity Fraud Protection Week reveal that, after family members, tenants were the next most accused group of acquaintances. A quarter of victims suspect renters and lodgers of fraudulently cashing in on shared mailboxes and undirected post.
Friends represented three per cent of suspected identity fraudsters, followed by ex-partners (two per cent). Work colleagues were also identified, completing the circle of acquaintances in prime positions to know most about their victims and to take advantage of that knowledge.
Experian has witnessed a change in the types of people being targeted, with a clear move away from well-off victims. Instead, identity fraud is moving to the mass market with higher volumes of lower value fraud crimes against those whose lifestyles make them more vulnerable groups. These include young professionals and low-income single parent families. Those most at risk included people living in flats with communal halls and shared postal deliveries or those who move frequently.
Peter Turner from Experian’s ProtectMyID.co.uk service, said: "Unfortunately, it seems that those who are most trusted are also those most likely to be put under the spotlight when ID fraud is committed. With this research revealing that so many victims think they know who the perpetrator is, suspicions are bound to run riot as to who it might be.
“It has never been more important to be vigilant with personal details and ensure you keep passwords and private data to yourself. ProtectMyID.co.uk has help and advice on what to do if you believe you may have been a victim of fraud.”
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 90 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft by providing identity fraud protection, with advanced identity protection features, as well as advice on ID fraud risks and facts about ID theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2010 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.
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