What is the profile of the 'perfect' ID fraud victim?
Could it be middle aged men & women who don’t need to apply for new credit?
As CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service reports a 6% increase in identity fraud in 2014*, credit information provider, Equifax, is urging consumers to stay vigilant to the threat. And it is highlighting that those individuals who may have less need for new credit could be particularly vulnerable.
The CIFAS Fraudscape report, published in March 2015, identified the average age of a male victim of impersonation is 45.9 years; for women it’s 46.2 years. And hotspots for identity fraud were London and the South East as well as some areas of the Midlands, Manchester and Leeds. Equifax believes this highlights a particular group of consumers who will be especially vulnerable to ID fraudsters.
“Middle aged, financially comfortable consumers who may not need to apply for new credit very often, may actually be ideal targets for ID thieves”, explained Laura Barrett, Equifax Consumer Affairs.
“Whilst these individuals probably already check their monthly bank and credit card statements, fraudulent spending on existing accounts isn’t the only way that ID fraudsters work. Opening new accounts in an innocent victim’s name is also a prime tactic for fraudsters.
“To achieve success in this area they are likely to look for victims that will probably have a good credit profile as well as perhaps not needing new credit so they are unlikely to check their credit informaton regularly. Hence the fraud can go undetected for some time, with more serious consequences. It can take a long time to rectify matters if someone has been a victim of ID fraud. So the sooner it is spotted the better.
“We always urge consumers to treat their personal data as carefully as they would cash. Fraudsters need only a few pieces of information to begin fraudulent activity, so it’s crucial to be vigilant – and that includes keeping an eye on credit information for any changes or unauthorised account openings.”
Top tips from Equifax also help to keep consumers’ data safe from criminals.
Equifax’s top tips to avoid ID theft
- Regularly apply for a copy of your credit file to look out for any unauthorised activity
- Shred statements, bills and direct mail which contains personal information
- Redirect mail if you move
- Keep your PIN and passwords secure and ensure they are not easy to guess
- Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts
- Be careful of what you carry around in your handbag or wallet. Credit card receipts, payslips, driving licence, bank statement, utility bill…these all reveal a lot of information about you and a combination of these can be a fraudsters dream
- When using online banking, ensure people can’t view your details and log out of websites, rather than just closing the window
- No matter how much you trust your friends, work colleagues, do not give out your PIN under any circumstances
- Never store your PIN on smartphone, tablet or laptop devices – ensure these devices are themselves properly PIN or password protected – because if they are stolen fraudster may have access to all your Facebook details
- Do a factory reset when trading in an old phone to wipe it clean and remove any personal data
- If you are disposing of an old computer, or other electronic device that stores data make sure you remove the information from the hard drive
- Make sure your computer has the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly and you have a Firewall
Equifax recommends that consumers regularly monitor their credit report for any changes to accounts or new accounts they didn’t authorise, and to help protect their personal information online with Equifax WebDetect. The 24/7 ID monitoring solution helps keep consumers one step ahead of fraudsters by alerting them to potential unauthorised trading of their personal information. WebDetect is free for customers purchasing their Equifax Credit Report or Credit Score.
The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
*CIFAS Fraudscape Report, published March 2015. https://www.cifas.org.uk/fraudscape_latest
For further press information, please contact: Clare Watson, Cecile Stearn, Parm Heer or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions that provide businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company’s significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enable it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. In 2013, Equifax was named a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Top 50 company, was #3 in Fortune's Most Admired list in its category, and was named to InfoWeek 500 as well as the FinTech 100. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.