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Protect yourself: current account fraud attempts more than double in 2015

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Current account fraud attempts more than doubled in 2015 as tactics used by scammers became more sophisticated.

According to Experian, 73 in every 10,000 current account applications made in January last year was fraudulent but detected. By December, this number had jumped to 156 in every 10,000, making it the most targeted financial product.

Experian, a credit reference agency, said that current account fraud not only presents the immediate threat of emptying a person’s overdraft facilities, but also often acts as a ‘gateway’ to further fraudulent activity.

This is because fraudsters can use information gained following a successful application to open other financial products such as loans or credit cards.

The credit card fraud attempt rate rose from 36 in every 10,000 applications in January 2015 to 55 in every 10,000 applications over the course of the year.

Similarly, insurance policy fraud attempts came in at 37 per 10,000 at the beginning of the year but increased to 68 per 10,000 by the end of 2015.

Companies and consumers need to remain vigilant

Nick Mothershaw, UK&I director of identity and fraud at Experian, said: “Current account fraud really came to the fore in 2015, with identity thieves acting as the chief culprits. The positive side to this is that these numbers represent detected and prevented fraud attempts, demonstrating the robustness of the protection systems in place for financial products.

“While it is clear that the systems are working, both companies and consumers need to remain vigilant to the evolving tactics of fraudsters which become more sophisticated with each passing day.”

Top tips to prevent ID fraud

Here are Experian’s top 10 tips to help prevent people falling victim to fraud:

  • Shred or destroy documents that contain personal information
  • Never respond to cold phone calls or emails asking for account details, PINs, passwords etc
  • Don’t give too much away on networking sites
  • Register to vote at your current address as thieves could use previous details to open accounts
  • Check your post regularly so you know when to expect important documents and when to act if they don’t come
  • Redirect your mail via the Post Office if you move house
  • Use secure, unique passwords for your online accounts
  • Don’t store account names and passwords on your smartphone as it’ll be a goldmine for fraudsters if it’s lost or stolen
  • Read bank and card statements regularly to check for suspicious transactions
  • Check your credit report so you can spot suspicious applications and spending.