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How to protect yourself against identity fraud as cases rise by a fifth in 2022

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Identity fraud increased by 21% in the last 12 months and it’s expected to peak over the Christmas shopping period, new figures have revealed.

The rate of ID fraud has also risen by up to 15% every November and December for the past four years, according to data from Experian.

It is warning that cases of fraud are likely to increase again this festive season.

It comes as sales rose 3% on Black Friday and 5% on Cyber Monday, according to data from Barclaycard Payments. It had been predicted that fewer transactions on both of these popular shopping days would have been made, in comparison to last year, because of the cost-of-living crisis.

£1.8bn potential cost to businesses from ID fraud

Last year, more than £1.8bn of fraudulent transactions were stopped by the credit reference agency.

The number of people who lost money because of ID theft rose 86% in the first six months of 2022, up from £11.5 million to £21.4 million when compared to the same period of 2021, according to UK Finance figures.

Eduardo Castro, managing director of identity and fraud for Experian UK&I, said: “Fraud is a serious, ongoing problem for both consumers and businesses in the UK. Over 2022, there has been no let-up and it’s likely, as our figures show, the trend will only become more pronounced over the coming months.

“With an increase in the volume of online transactions, it’s vital businesses can confirm their customers’ information is legitimate and they are not being duped by a fraudster using stolen personal information.”

The credit agency has launched a social media video featuring Father Christmas as the “most impersonated man” to encourage shoppers and businesses to be more aware of the risks of ID fraud this Christmas.

How to avoid ID fraud

There are lots of ways to avoid ID fraud and they include the following:

  • Don’t share too much personal information on social media
  • Always re-register on the electoral roll as soon as you can when you move house
  • Make sure you have an individual unique password for each online account you have and where possible use password managers to increase complexity of your passwords
  • Ensure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password
  • Set up two-factor authentication on existing accounts
  • If you receive emails or text messages, always be cautious about attachments, links, or telephone numbers.
  • Check your credit report, for free, on at least an annual basis to look for anything suspicious.

Castro added: “Despite the overall amount of fraud losses falling slightly, levels are still extremely high and costing victims significantly.

“The issue is that fraudsters are always looking to find a new way to exploit any opportunity. At this time of year, we expect there to be a surge in delivery scams for example – it’s an ongoing battle which both businesses and consumers need to be aware of.”

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