The head of the UK’s leading fraud-busting organisation has warned that social media sites are now the main hunting ground for identity thieves and is urging consumers to think twice about what they share following a huge rise in ID theft among the the unders 30s.
According to the latest figures from Cifas, there has been a 52% rise in young identity fraud victims in the UK, with just under 24,000 (23,959) people aged 30 and under falling victim to ID fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.
Gone are the days when ID frausters simply made up a name to purpetrate their crimes, with some much information widely available online it is far easier for them to steal a real person’s ID. In 2015, only 3.4% of all identity frauds involved fictitious identities compared to 10.6% in 2011.
The study also reveals widespread ignorance about the issue among 18- to 24-year-olds: 50% surveyed believe they would never fall for an online scam (compared to the national average of 37 per cent), while only 57% of think about how secure their personal details are online (compared to 73% for the population as a whole.
Cifas chief executive Simon Dukes said: “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves. We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share.
“Social media is fantastic and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”
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