CIFAS Fraudscape report: safeguarding the personal information of the next generation

Lisa Hardstaff at Equifax urges all generations to be aware of the risks when sharing information online as 88% of identity frauds were committed online

"Cifas figures released today clearly show how vulnerable people are to online identity fraud with 88% of the crimes being committed online during 2016. Young people are particularly at risk with a 34% increase of victims under the age of 21 years.

"Social media provides a platform to openly share an abundance of private information for everyone to see. It might seem innocent at the time, but young people can easily reveal their age, birthdate, address, pet names or even family details such as their mother’s maiden name – all things that could be used for security questions or passwords.

"When it comes to privacy settings on social media sites research* conducted by Equifax revealed that 9% of 12 to 18 year olds are not aware of or don’t know how to use them. A quarter (25%) of children also use them on some sites and not others. The privacy setting of ‘everyone’ provides perfect strangers the opportunity to view young people’s details; such as their photos, school information and conversations with their friends, leaving them at risk of inadvertently providing personal information about themselves or the family that would be useful for fraudsters

"Being online obviously has its benefits, but it has its risks too and protecting children can seem like a daunting task for parents. By taking a cautious approach parents can help their children protect themselves and help safeguard their personal information against misuse in the future."

The main rules to discuss with your children;

  • Never give your information to someone you don’t know in the real world
  • If anyone on the internet is making you feel uncomfortable talk to your parents or an adult that you trust
  • Always use privacy settings to ensure that only friends and family can see your posts
  • Use different passwords for each social media account
  • If your account has a security question, keep in mind how easy it might be to guess the answer – is the information readily available or easy to research? eg the name of your school or your pet. If so, it may be safer to choose a more difficult question.
  • Avoid keeping your passwords written down and never store them on your web browser or on your mobile.
  • Never share your password and PINs with anyone
  • Think before you share a photo
  • Parents should download and install anti-virus and online security software which helps protect your computer from outside attacks, such as malware and viruses that could try to steal information off your computer

* Research conducted by Censuswide. 501 Parents with children aged 8-11, 504 children aged 5-11, 500 parents aged 12-18 and 500 children aged 12-18, conducted December 2016

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:

About Equifax

Equifax, Inc. ("Equifax") powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyses data on more than 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide, and its databases include employee data contributed from more than 5,000 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,200 employees worldwide.

Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Ranked 13 on the American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2015); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015); named one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015). For more information, visit

Equifax Limited is one of the Equifax group companies based in the UK.

Equifax Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.