Fraud levels expected to peak during online festive shopping period

Experian is encouraging people to be more vigilant than ever with their personal information

UK, 25 November, 2021: Consumers and businesses are being warned to expect a surge in fraudulent activity ahead of Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season.

Experian analysis of data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service reveals credit card application fraud is set to peak over the period, with criminals looking to take advantage of an increase in genuine applications to attempt to access credit, with stolen or illegally obtained personal details.

  • The fraud rate for credit card applications increased by 43% in the last three months,* a trend predicted to peak in November and December.
  • The rate rose by 107% between December 2016 and December 2020, representative of the increasing severity of the problem.

The significant increase in Ecommerce in recent years - a trend fast-tracked by the Covid-19 pandemic - means the need for businesses to be able to quickly confirm that a customer’s identity and details are genuine has never been greater.

Using a sophisticated combination of new technologies and solutions, fraud teams are becoming more successful at identifying actual fraud attempts which, in part, explains the rise in rates seen in the analysis.

Meanwhile, consumers should be aware of how they can best protect their personal details and information when shopping online. Checking their credit report can help identify if someone has had their details used to apply for a financial product fraudulently.

Eduardo Castro, Head of Identity and Fraud Experian UK&I, said: “The UK is experiencing a severe wave of fraud which shows no signs of abating and it is highly likely, as many of us head online to do Christmas shopping, that the trend will be even more pronounced over the next month.

“The risk is to both businesses and consumers. With such a volume of digital transactions being carried out, it’s critical organisations can confirm their customers’ information is legitimate as frictionlessly as possible, while consumers should do all they can to protect their information online.

Experian has a host of fraud and identity solutions and services that can help businesses from across sectors improve their fraud identification systems. For more information go to https://www.experian.com/decision-analytics/

                                                                                    [Ends]

*Analysis of Hunter Fraud Prevention Service data, August to October 2021. Fraud rate based on number of confirmed fraudulent applications reported to Hunter.

How to protect yourself protect yourself from identity fraud

  • Don’t share too much personal information on social media, such as mother’s maiden name, home address or when you’re away. It’s important make sure your privacy settings are up to date across all platforms.
  • When you move address, always re-register on the electoral roll as soon as you can. This helps ensure your details are no longer registered at your previous address. It’s a good idea to set up mail redirection for a while too.
  • Make sure you have an individual unique password for each online account you have. This means fraudsters are less likely to gain access to multiple accounts.
  • Ensure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password, never sign in into password protected accounts on unsecured public Wi-Fi and make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software
  • If you receive emails or text messages always be cautious about attachments, links or telephone numbers. If in doubt, visit the company website and contact them directly.
  • Check your credit report, for free, on at least an annual basis to look for anything suspicious. This will show any applications for credit or new accounts. You can also monitor your free Experian Credit Score to look for any significant changes.

What to do if you’re a victim of ID fraud

  • Check your free statutory credit report, with all three credit reference agencies. You can then review all information that does not belong to you.
  • Contact any relevant lenders to inform them of the fraudulent information
  • Ask Experian, or a credit reference agency, to dispute the fraudulent information with all relevant companies and lenders. A notice of dispute will also be added to the fraudulent information.
  • Add a password to your credit report. this is called a Password Notice of Correction and should be unique and only known to you.
  • Add self-registration details with Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service. A credit reference agency can sometimes do this for you.
  • Contact Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

 Media contact:

Robert Goodman, PR Manager, Corporate & Business, UK&I, Experian

Tel: +44 7989 398 498 / Email: Robert.Goodman@Experian.com

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 20,000 people operating across 44 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.