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Cifas data reveals victims of identity fraud aged 60+ Up nearly a quarter in 2019

3 August 2020
  • Cases of identity fraud rose by nearly 20% in 2019
  • People aged over 31 specifically targeted with victims aged 60+ on the rise

The latest research from Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has revealed that cases of identity fraud recorded to the Cifas National Fraud Database rose by nearly 20% in 2019 – the sharpest rise in the last five years.

Identity fraud occurs when a person’s personal data is abused through applications, often to purchase a product, take out a loan or open a new account. This type of fraudulent conduct is often enabled by criminals posing as bank staff or other reputable organisations, and targeting members of the public by email, text or phone call and manipulating them into handing over personal and sensitive data.

The latest figures from the Cifas National Fraud Database show that identity fraud is steadily rising, with cases up 32% over the last five years. In 2019 there were 223,163 cases recorded - an 18% increase when compared to the previous year, and the largest rise in cases over a five year period.

The large majority of these cases involved financial products, with bank and credit cards accounting for nearly half (42%) of all cases recorded, and this was followed by bank accounts at 22% and loans at 10%.

The majority of victims of identity fraud were aged over 31, and this is probably because they are more likely have a better credit score when compared to their younger counterparts. But it was victims aged over 61 where the sharpest rise occurred – up 22% in 2019 when compared to the previous year, and this age group also had the highest proportion of victims of impersonation for plastic card products.

Nick Downing, Chief Intelligence Officer for Cifas, said: ‘Having your identity stolen can be devastating, and victims often suffer financial loss, damage to their credit rating and emotional distress. In many cases people never find out how criminals got hold of their details, and clearing things up afterwards can be costly and time consuming.

‘Never share personal or financial details on email, texts or over the phone, and provide as little information about yourself on social media as possible. Remember that fraudsters are always on the lookout for any information they can use to steal someone’s identity, and so always ensure that you keep your personal information personal.’

Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud for TSB, said: ‘Fraudsters thrive on numerous platforms, working hard to trick personal information out of innocent people – which is often the first step in a fraud. Tricks such as fake online quizzes on social media and fictitious job offers on job boards are becoming increasingly common.

‘Educating and supporting victims of identity fraud is vitally important, but being cautious online and treating every call, text and e-mail out of the blue with suspicion will go a long way to keeping your identity safe. Using different, unique, passwords for your e-mail account and your online banking will help to limit the damage caused by a data breach elsewhere.’


For more information contact:

Corinne Gladstone
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654 E:

Notes to editors

  • All data included is from the Cifas National Fraud Database (NFD) and includes intelligence provided by Cifas members, partners and law enforcement. A full breakdown of all data from the NFD in 2019 will be available in Fraudscape due to be published in August.
  • Identity fraud over a five year period:
  • Identity theft by age group:

Under 21: 34% increase (3,904 in 2019 vs 2,911 in 2018)
21 – 30: 22% increase (29,364 in 2019 vs 24,125 in 2018)
31 – 40: 15% increase (44,394 in 2019 vs 38,562 in 2018)
41 – 50: 13% increase (42,631 in 2019 vs 37,611 in 2018)
51 – 60: 17% increase (41,381 in 2019 vs 35,519 in 2018)
61+: 22% increase (40,958 in 2018 vs 33,515 in 2018)

About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2019, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.5 billion of fraud losses.

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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