Scam watch: ID fraud remains biggest threat to consumers

11 May 2017

The number of fraud cases continues to rise, with identity crimes posing the biggest risk to consumers, according to new research.

Data published by fraud prevention service, Cifas, shows there were 325,092 cases of fraud reported in 2016, a 1% increase compared to 2015.

But its identity fraud crimes that continue to pose the biggest threat to consumers, with these cases representing 60% of all reported fraud. 


The organisation says that while security for customer accounts has increased, criminals are still tricking people into revealing personal details by making scam phone calls.

Fraudsters look to collect key information such as date of birth, address, details of bank accounts and even passwords. They then use this data to pose as the victim and defraud them.

In some cases publicly available information from social media has been used to facilitate the fraud.

Yet despite the rise in fraud cases, Cifas estimates that organisations successfully prevented £1.03 billion in fraud losses through non-competitive data sharing in the past year.

Cifas chief executive Simon Dukes says: “Working together, organisations prevented £1 billion worth of fraud last year, but we know that as one method gets harder, fraudsters change tactic rather than stop. We are now seeing that the advances made in securing online access to customer accounts have led to fraudsters targeting the human being at the end of the phone.

“Using old-fashioned but highly-effective con artistry, they are tricking individuals into giving away their personal details and deceiving call centre staff into making transactions on their victims’ accounts. The proliferation of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches only makes this easier.”


Cifas has offered five top tips for avoiding fraud:

1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password.

2. Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine - people aren’t always who they say they are.

3. Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think.

4. Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it.

5. Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.


For more ideas, read 17 ways to protect your money online in 2017

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