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ID thieves target mortgage applications 

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05/05/2016
Cases of ID thieves targeting mortgage applications reached a four-year high in the first quarter of the year, new research reveals.

The latest fraud report by information services company Experian said third party fraud historically accounted for around 4% of all mortgage application fraud but this figure rose to 6% in the January to March period, the highest since 2012.

Nick Mothershaw, fraud expert from Experian, said: “The increase from 4% to 6% is worrying. This is because third party mortgage fraud is very complex and not as easy to commit on a large scale as fraud related to other financial products, such as current accounts, can be.”

In many of the cases detected by Experian, fraudsters had either hacked databases or intercepted emails between individuals and their solicitors.

Despite the increase in ID theft in mortgage fraud, overall mortgage fraud attempts dropped significantly in quarter one, compared with the same period last year, from 83 in every 10,000 applications to 66 in 10,000 – the biggest quarterly fall seen by the mortgage industry in the last three years.

Current accounts continued to top the charts for fraudulent applications at a rate of 126 in every 10,000 applications, up from 81 in 10,000 in Q1 2015.

Credit card fraud attempts continued to rise to 46 in every 10,000 applications from 33 in every 10,000 in the first quarter of 2014.

The overall fraud rate for the first three months of 2016 increased to 54 in 10,000 versus 45 in 10,000 a year earlier.

Mothershaw said: “Our latest fraud rate represents the amount of fraud that has been detected and prevented. Fraudsters are not going to stop looking for new and evolving ways to scam people.

“Fraud itself is viewed by many organisations as one of the biggest threats they are facing.”

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