Fraudulent finance application have risen by nearly 50% in the first half of 2008, with a rising number of conmen stealing people's identity to make fraudulent applications.
CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, says that in many cases the identities of innocent individuals are being used - sparking fears that it will be too late before customers realise that their identity has been stolen.
According to Kate Beddington-Brown, a CIFAS spokesperson, the rise is particularly worrying: “Although it is difficult to pin down the precise reasons for such a rise, frauds of this kind are perpetrated through channels such as email and the telephone, or by the interception of credit cards and statements in order to take over an account, divert or fraudulently order goods,” she says.
Consumers are now being urged to check their credit records to ensure they have not fallen victim to ID fraud.
Neil Munroe, a director at the credit reference agency Equifax says: “The problem is that ID fraud is an unseen crime and more often than not you don’t know you have been a victim until you are rejected for credit or you
receive a letter from a debt collector.
"With such a staggering increase in application fraud, we think it’s vital for consumers to make sure their credit information is being monitored on an on-going basis.”
A recent survey by Equifax found that there is a greater awareness of ID fraud amongst people. Around 37% of those polled said they are very concerned about ID fraud, with 63% saying they have changed the way they look after their personal information. In particular monitoring and on-going vigilance is becoming more commonplace, with 35% checking their bank accounts and statements daily and 43% doing the same on a weekly basis.
However, the survey also found that 46% stored their bank details on their mobiles or computers, with 16% admitting they wrote down their PINs.
According to Munroe, if these items are stolen the thieves would have all of the data they would need to commit ID fraud.