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Fraudscape Bulletin - Data driven identity crime accounts for 2 in 3 of all frauds reveals Cifas


Analysis of frauds recorded by cross sector Members of Cifas – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service during the past 12 months has revealed some significant trends in fraudulent activity.  These are examined and explained in Fraudscape Bulletin 2013 – published today.

A copy of Fraudscape Bulletin 2013 can be downloaded here. Key findings include:

  • Almost 114,000 confirmed frauds were recorded to the Cifas National Fraud Database in the first half of 2013.
  • The use of fake identity details, or the impersonation of an innocent victim (Identity Fraud) now accounts for over a half (52%) of all fraud.
  • Account – or facility – takeover frauds constitute 14% of all frauds, meaning that two thirds of all frauds (66%) related directly to the abuse of identity details.
  • The number of frauds against plastic card accounts (e.g. credit or store cards) rose by 19% in first half of 2013 compared with the last six months of 2012. Frauds targeting loan products (personal unsecured loans and payday loans) also increased markedly over the same period.

Personal details still the most valuable for fraudsters

While overall fraud levels have decreased slightly (3%) from the last half of 2012, identity fraud (the use of a false identity or the identity details of another person) not only accounts for over a half of all confirmed frauds in the first half of 2013, but has increased from the last six months of the previous year. With account – or facility – takeover fraud (where fraudsters bypass security and hijack the running of an account) also standing at 14% of all fraud, data enabled identity crimes continue to be the most serious fraud threat facing organisations and customers.

Cifas Communications Manager, Richard Hurley, comments: “Cifas has long highlighted that data is the cornerstone of the fraudster’s trade. With two thirds of all recorded fraud now relating to the abuse of identity details, the message is clearer than ever. Organisations and individuals must develop new ways of safeguarding their personal data, otherwise they effectively provide the fraudster with a licence to steal money.”


Changing products: a fraudster’s recurring tactic

Industry initiatives such as improved security for online transactions and Chip and PIN have doubtlessly prevented much fraud. In spite of this, however, fraud against plastic card accounts (e.g. credit and store cards) has increased during the previous 12 month period. This is in contrast to bank account frauds, which (in spite of an increase in identity fraud against bank accounts) have decreased by 11% from the last half of 2012. The increased visibility of organisations offering either unsecured or payday loans, however, has led to a 70% increase in fraud against loan accounts. Elsewhere, mail order accounts were targeted substantially less (down 44%) in the first half of 2013 compared with the previous six months; irrevocably demonstrating that fraudsters will constantly transfer their attention to new targets rather than give up.


Closing comment from Cifas

Richard Hurley concludes: “Fraudscape Bulletin 2013 shows that there is a changeable and volatile fraud landscape, and that the overall pattern is a sobering warning to organisations and individuals. Identity details and personal data are now driving the vast majority of fraudulent activity, and this signals the need to change processes, protection and attitudes fundamentally. The shifts in targets for fraudsters also underlines that where improved security measures are introduced, fraud simply migrates elsewhere, so all organisations must be prepared to be targeted in new ways. Fraud, unfortunately, is a crime that shows no sign of disappearing; organisations and individuals must therefore find a way of staying one step ahead of the fraudsters.”

Notes to Editors:

1.    Cifas is the UK's Fraud Prevention Service where over 280 organisations from the public and private sectors share fraud information in order to prevent fraud. They include those from the banking, grant giving, credit card, asset finance, retail credit, mail order and online retailer, insurance, saving, telecommunication, factoring, share dealing, vetting agencies, contact centres and insurance brokering sectors. Cifas is unique and was the first data sharing scheme of its type in the world. Other schemes modelled on Cifas have been set up in Southern Africa and Germany.


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