Fraud continues to pose problems in 2010
Identity fraud has always been a sinister crime – fraudsters using the names and details of innocent victims to generate their criminal cash-flow. An increase in identity fraud of 19.86% in the first quarter of 2010 (compared with the same period in 2009), therefore, is cause for concern. As CIFAS has previously reported, however, the surge in identity frauds that make use of the victim’s current address details (which are therefore more sophisticated and difficult to detect) is a trend that has become more pronounced during the past 12 months. A 44.73% increase in identity frauds where the facility, product, policy or claim was granted (fraud was proved when it was too late, only after the facility had been offered,) is proof of this sinister development.
CIFAS Communications Manager, Richard Hurley, comments: “The increase in the use of a victim’s current address and details makes the ‘impersonation’ seem more realistic and, therefore, difficult to detect and prevent due to the applications seeming so plausible. The challenge for us all, therefore, is to battle against the sophisticated criminals that perpetrate these crimes.”
Unsurprisingly, in light of this increase in identity fraud, the number of victims of impersonation has also continued to rise. Nearly 27,000 victims of impersonation were recorded by CIFAS Members during the first three months of 2010: an increase of just over 6,000 (22.86%). Victims of impersonation frequently report feelings of uncertainty, helplessness and not knowing who to trust – on top of the financial impact suffered and the time taken to rectify the damage. The impact of fraud, therefore, must always be seen as something far greater than just a financial one.
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