NewsroomCareersContact Us

Newsroom

Surge of identity fraud hits the UK as criminals capitalise on recovering economy

12 July 2021

 

  • National Fraud Database figures reveal a surge of identity fraud with an 11% increase in the first six months of 2021.
  • Patterns of fraudulent conduct similar to the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis are being repeated as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Cifas is warning of a surge in identity fraud as cases filed to the National Fraud Database increased by 11% in the first six months of 2021, in a pattern similar to the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

As revealed in Cifas’ Fraudscape report today, the total number of cases recorded to the National Fraud Database reduced in 2020 compared the record year of 2019, linked to the fall in economic activity caused by the pandemic. However, a comparison of the first six months of 2021 reveals a sharp spike in cases of fraud, with almost 180,000 instances of fraudulent conduct filed in the first six months of the year.

This pattern was repeated following the financial crisis in 2008, when organisations in the UK recorded a 32% increase in identity fraud the following year. Subsequently, Cifas is warning UK businesses and consumers to expect a continuation of the steep rise in identity fraud for 2021 and 2022 as criminals take advantage of the recovering economy.

Despite the dip in filings in 2020, Cifas member organisations filed a case to the National Fraud Database every two minutes on average, with three in five of these cases relating to identity fraud.

Mike Haley, Chief Executive of Cifas, said ‘Our members have seen over half a million instances of identity fraud over the last three years. The increase in the first six months of the year is extremely concerning as it indicates that the volume of identity fraud will continue to rise post-COVID as fraudsters exploit the identities of more innocent victims for criminal gain.

‘Businesses need to be prepared to deal with an increase in fraudsters masquerading as genuine consumers attempting to purchase products and services using stolen information. The public should also be wary of increased attempts to trick them out of their personal and financial details.’

Cifas is reminding the public to take care of their personal details and to follow the advice of the Take Five campaign before responding to any request for details:

1. Stop – take a moment to stop and think before parting with your personal information.
2. Challenge – Do you know who is asking for your personal information, credentials or financial details? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.
3. Protect – contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Any individual who has been tricked out of their personal details may wish to consider applying for a Cifas Protective Registration to protect themselves from the devastating impacts of identity fraud.

Notes to editors

Fraudscape

Fraudscape 2021 report is available at: www.fraudscape.co.uk

Fraudscape is Cifas’ annual report which combines data from our National Fraud Database (NFD) and Internal Fraud Database (IFD), alongside intelligence provided by Cifas members, partners and law enforcement

Alongside analysis of the figures, the report also features guest contributions from experts at UK Finance, RiskScreen and Pindrop.

Identity Fraud

Definition of identity fraud - when a subject abuses personal data to impersonate an innocent party, or creates a fictitious identity (synthetic identity), to open a new account or obtain a product.

Full year results (January – December)

Total new cases recorded to the National Fraud Database

2018

2019

2020

321,642

364,643 (↑13%)

309,849 (↓15%)

 

New identity fraud cases on the National Fraud Database

2018

2019

2020

189,108

223,163 (↑18%)

185,578 (↓17%)

 

First six months results (January – June)

Total new cases recorded to the National Fraud Database

January – June 2019

January – June 2020

January – June 2021

185,947

158,606 (↓15%)

179,104 (↑13%)

 

New identity fraud cases on the National Fraud Database

January – June 2019

January – June 2020

January – June 2021

114,483

92,951 (↓19%)

102,839 (↑11%)

 

About Cifas

Cifas is the UK’s fraud prevention service. We lead the fight against fraud by sharing data, intelligence and learning. The organisations that collaborate with us are drawn from all sectors, operating in both the public and private sectors working together to stop fraud. A full list of our members can be found on our website.

Organisations that work with Cifas, contribute to and benefit from the UK’s largest databases of fraud risk data and intelligence. We are committed to the principle of collaboration, which connects and drives our community, and enables the sharing of:

Data
We enable the secure sharing of high quality, trusted data to fight fraud. Our databases are the most comprehensive and diverse sources of fraud risk data in the UK.

Intelligence
We provide research and dynamic intelligence that influences the threat picture and strengthens the response against fraud.

Learning
We are a leading provider of accredited education and trusted training.

For more information

Please contact:

Matt Pearson
Press & Public Relations Manager
matthew.pearson@cifas.org.uk / 0203 004 3644

Share:
Posted by: Cifas Press Team
NEXT ARTICLE
 

Cifas responds to the Public Accounts Committee’s ‘Fraud and Error’ report 

29 June 2021

Mike Haley, Cifas CEO, responds to the Public Accounts Committee’s ‘Fraud and Error’ report 

CONTINUE READING
Back to newsroom >
Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at press@cifas.org.uk

Categories