In the Media

UK worst in Europe for identity fraud

PUBLISHED October 1, 2012

According to research commissioned for UK Fraud Prevention Month, which starts today, almost a quarter of UK residents have been victims of identity fraud compared to a 17pc average across Europe. Even in Russia, only 20pc of the population have been touched by identity theft.

Three quarters of the UK population has been exposed to ID fraud. The most common scam is a fake email supposedly from a person's bank requesting a return email with personal information to update security details. The incidence rate for this type of scam is significantly higher in the UK than the rest of Europe.

And it's not just hackers and cyber criminals targeting British households: one in 10 people in the UK have been targeted with scams requesting paper-based information to be sent through the post, where fraudsters could use personal details to potentially commit identity fraud.

Personal ID fraud can result in financial loss. In extreme cases houses have been purchased in victims' names although on average it has cost victims £1,076. However, the average cost per victim in Germany is far greater. £28,666 has been taken in the average case, with victims in Italy suffering losses of £13,180 per victim.

Neil Munroe, spokesperson for the campaign said: "Stealing your personal information is where most fraud begins. With a stolen ID a fraudster can effectively become you - taking money, buying property, setting up bank and phone accounts all in your name.

"We are all using computers for shopping and socialising with friends and we are receiving more post than ever before, whether it's a bank statement or a piece of direct mail. This leaves us all open to risk from ID fraud if we do not take action to protect ourselves."

Fraud Prevention month is a joint initiative between Action Fraud, Cifas (the UK's Fraud Prevention Service), credit agency Equifax, antivirus software Norton by Symantec, Get Safe Online and office products specialist Fellowes.