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Experian reveals UK fraud cases surge by 11% as fraudsters’ techniques evolve


Experian, the global information services company, has revealed that fraudulent applications for credit and other financial services leapt by 11 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009.

Identity fraudsters and criminals have turned to even greater stealth by targeting bank current accounts as a gateway to then attempt access to more lucrative credit card and loan fraud. The analysis from Experian shows that attempted credit card fraud levels reached 19 in every 10,000 applications in 2010, with identity fraudsters accounting for more than 80 per cent of attempts.

There was also an increase in attempted loan fraud (from five in every 10,000 applications in 2009 to seven in every 10,000 applications), with identity fraudsters responsible for 60 per cent of these cases. Current address fraud was the preferred point of attack for both types of fraud, a technique which requires some form of mail interception or redirection.

Experian’s analysis also shows that first-party fraud is on the increase and now accounts for 56 per cent of detected fraud attempts, up from 39 per cent in 2009. First party fraud is when someone knowingly creates a false picture of their circumstances to secure credit.

Peter Turner, Managing Director of Experian Interactive, commented: “Our research shows that fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more menacing than ever before. It is important to have proper safeguards in place to protect your identity such as ensuring that you keep your pins and passwords private, properly checking your bank statements and taking care when sharing personal details online.”

The Experian Fraud Report also reveals that whilst London continues to be the identity fraud capital of the UK, there is new evidence suggesting that identity fraudsters are migrating westwards out of London and increasingly targeting residents of commuter towns, including Reading, High Wycombe and Basingstoke.

As fraudsters turn their hands to new tactics, their targets become ever more widespread, focusing on those who flat-share or rent their homes, those with generous disposable income and individuals whose wealth makes them a key overall target.

According to Experian’s new report, the often visible wealth of the ’Alpha Territory’ Mosaic demographic and their ability to access substantial credit lines makes them three times more likely to be targeted for ID fraud than the national average.

The second most at-risk demographic in 2010 were the young professionals of the ’Liberal Opinions’ Mosaic groups. Their dependence on the internet and tendency to live in rented and shared accommodation with high tenant turnover meant they were twice as likely to become victims of fraud.

Alongside these more affluent groups, are young, single people usually on limited incomes, renting small flats from local councils or housing associations - the ’Upper Floor Living’ demographic. This group has become a more popular target over recent years as fraudsters have sought to perpetrate higher volumes of low value crimes as a way of attempting to circumnavigate increasingly sophisticated fraud defences.

The least likely to become identity fraud victims are those whose circumstances make them less accessible to criminals. Over 65’s, for example, who have made a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from large cities, and the large numbers of pensioners that can no longer engage in high levels of physical activity are all four times less likely to be a victim of fraud.


Notes to editor:
The Experian Fraud Report 2010 is an analysis of information from the National Hunter anti-fraud data sharing system and the Insurance Hunter database.

About Experian:
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, with advice and tips on the company website as well as its PMID blog.

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