This week in the UK is National Identity Fraud Prevention Month. This is where partners from the public and private sector embark on a month-long initiative to help support UK citizens fight personal identity fraud in four simple steps. This year, the message is “Don’t let it be you“.
This message is backed by Action Fraud, CIFAS – The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, Equifax, Symantec, Get Safe Online and Fellowes (shredders). Research commissioned for UK Fraud Prevention Month has highlighted some alarming data that should be a wake up call for UK citizens or so they claim.
Currently one in four UK residents have been affected by identity fraud (how is this classified?) compared with 17% across Europe. Also the research highlighted that UK identity fraud appears more of a problem than elsewhere in the Europe. The research identified 52% of people in the UK receive a scam email purporting to be from that persons bank compared with 31% in Europe. What was also interesting was that 47% of UK people are still not taking basic precautions for protecting their identity i.e shredding (including envelopes folks :))
Lastly the research showed that 75% of the UK population has been exposed to identity fraud – is this actually the case? I think not. Here is why….
Identity fraud is where someone steals your identity and lives your life as you. Think of ‘Catch Me If You Can‘ the movie. Identity fraudsters will be able to open a new bank account, obtain a passport/driving licence/birth certificate, purchase goods and services as well as telling people they are you. Full on identity fraud is actually the most damaging of all frauds for both personal and financial reasons.
My belief is that identity fraud in quite a few instances should be reclassified as ‘financial fraud’ i.e. credit or debit account fraud is not identity fraud. Also, studies/reports and the media in general misunderstand this as well as what the difference is between identity fraud and identity theft.
I suggest you read my post UK ID Theft Protection – what you need to know to learn more about protecting your identity. If you live in the US you should read this post US ID Theft Protection – what you need to know.
Safe surfing folks!