Identity fraud set to peak during Christmas shopping season

Experian technology prevented more than £1.8bn of fraudulent transactions last year

UK, 25, November, 2022: Identity fraud has risen by more than a fifth in 2022, amid warnings that fraudulent activity is set to peak this Christmas shopping season.

New analysis from Experian reveals that identity fraud rose by 21% in the last 12 months, with the trend predicted to be at its most severe over the festive period.

Since 2018 identity fraud rates have been seen to rise by up to 15% year-on-year during November and December, as fraudsters attempt to take advantage of the increase in online transactions, reducing businesses resources to investigate potential fraud, and access credit with stolen personal details.

Meanwhile, the extent of the issue can be seen in the potential financial cost fraud poses to businesses. Experian’s identity and fraud technology prevented more than £1.8bn of fraudulent transactions in 2021.

Eduardo Castro, Managing Director, Identity and Fraud, Experian UK&I, said: “Fraud is a serious, ongoing problem for both consumers and businesses in the UK. Over 2022, there has been no let-up and it’s likely, as our figures show, the trend will only become more pronounced over the coming months.”

“With an increase in the volume of online transactions, it’s vital businesses can confirm their customers’ information is legitimate and they are not being duped by a fraudster using stolen personal information.”

To encourage people to look after their personal information and for businesses to think about their fraud risk, Experian has launched a new social media awareness campaign.  Featuring Father Christmas and an excited, but somewhat suspicious child, the festive-inspired video aims to make everyone aware about the dangers of identity fraud.

Castro adds: “There are several simple things people can do to keep their information secure. Making sure they don’t overshare personal details on social media or enabling multi-factor authentication, such as biometrics, for their online accounts can go a long way to preventing ID fraud.

“Always be suspicious of unsolicited calls, emails, and texts. If in doubt, contact the company directly - it only takes a minute to offer up the personal information which the fraudster can then use to access your accounts or apply for credit in your name.”

Figures from UK Finance reveal losses related to card identity theft increased by 86% in the first six months of 2022, up from £11.5 million to £21.4 million, compared to the same period last year.*

Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, where a victim is tricked – typically through a phone call, text message, or email – into transferring money to a fraudster, cost consumers £249.1 million. Romance scams, which sees the victim transfer money to an apparent love interest rose by almost a third (31%) to more than £16 million.  

Overall, more than was £609 million was stolen, but there are signs of encouragement, with advanced anti-fraud prevention systems deployed by banks preventing £584 million from being lost.

“Many businesses are meeting the challenge of fraud head-on,” Castro adds.

“New, cutting-edge technologies incorporating machine learning are bolstering efforts, while regulations like the Payments Service Directive 2 (PDS2) are also having a positive impact.

“Despite the overall amount of fraud losses falling slightly, levels are still extremely high and costing victims significantly. The issue is that fraudsters are always looking to find a new way to exploit any opportunity. At this time of year, we expect there to be a surge in delivery scams for example - it’s an ongoing battle which both businesses and consumers need to be aware of.”

Experian is a market leader in fraud prevention technology and has recently been named as the leading global provider of online payment fraud solutions by Juniper Research.

Earlier this year, it launched Experian Fraud Score, the next generation in fraud prevention services allowing organisations of all sizes to have access to an advanced fraud prevention system ‘out-of-the-box.’

Developed using the latest Machine Learning capabilities, front-line data analytics, and proprietary bureau and fraud outcome data, it deploys a probability scoring system from 1 to 1,000 – with a low score signifying a lower risk – to help businesses better understand the fraud risk of each new and existing customer interactions.

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To view our Christmas fraud film, ‘The World’s Most Impersonated Man’, visit https://www.experian.co.uk/business/regulation-and-fraud/fraud-at-christmas

Analysis based on data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service.

*UK Finance Half Year Report 2022

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 and update key accounts too.
  • Make sure you have an individual unique password for each online account you have and where possible use password managers to increase complexity of your passwords. 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.
  • Set up two-factor authentication on existing accounts such as biometrics and SMS or email one-time passwords.
  • 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.

 

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 20,600 people operating across 43 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.