Cases of UK fraud surge by 11% as fraudsters’ techniques evolve

  Experian reveals the capital is the nation’s most ‘at-risk’ region and advises how to protect yourself from ID Fraud


Nottingham , 13th April 2011.  New research released today by Experian®, the global information services company, has revealed that fraudulent applications for credit and other financial services leapt by 11 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009.

Identity fraudsters and criminals have turned to even greater stealth by targeting bank current accounts as a gateway to then attempt access to more lucrative credit card and loan fraud.  Experian’s analysis shows that attempted credit card fraud levels reached 19 in every 10,000 applications in 2010, with identity fraudsters accounting for more than 80 per cent of attempts.

There was also an increase in attempted loan fraud (from five in every 10,000 applications in 2009 to seven in every 10,000 applications), with identity fraudsters responsible for 60 per cent of these cases. Current address fraud was the preferred point of attack for both types of fraud, a technique which requires some form of mail interception or redirection.

Experian’s analysis also shows that first-party fraud is on the increase and now accounts for 56 per cent of detected fraud attempts, up from 39 per cent in 2009.   First party fraud is when someone knowingly creates a false picture of their circumstances to secure credit.

Experian has provided important tips to avoid becoming an ID fraud victim:

  • Don’t reveal too much on social networking sites, fraudsters use personal details like age, maiden names or pets names to guess private passwords.
  • Keep PINS and passwords private, memorise details rather than writing them down and never give account details to anyone else.
  • Make sure online security settings and firewalls are updated regularly.
  • If an email seems suspicious contact the relevant organisation and don’t give out personal details.
  • Check your credit report regularly, it’s a history of your credit accounts and will highlight any irregularities such as suspect applications for credit and rises in card balances. You can view your credit report free with a 30 day trial with CreditExpert*.
  • Read your bank statements for irregularities and then shred them.


*30 day free trial is for new customers only, after which a monthly fee applies

Peter Turner, Managing Director of Experian Interactive, commented: Our research shows that fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more menacing than ever before. It is important to have proper safeguards in place to protect your identity such as ensuring that you keep your pins and passwords private, properly checking your bank statements and taking care when sharing personal details online.”

Where are the UK fraud hotspots?

The Experian Fraud Report also reveals that whilst London continues to be the identity fraud capital of the UK, there is new evidence suggesting that identity fraudsters are migrating westwards out of London and increasingly targeting residents of commuter towns, including Reading, High Wycombe and Basingstoke.

Fraud is most prolific in Woolwich and East Ham, which witnessed more than 15 reported crimes in every 10,000 residents.  However, the number of identity frauds attempted against residents of Reading trebled in 2010, catapulting it into the UK’s top ten hotspots for the first time.

Similar levels of identity fraud activity were recorded in High Wycombe and Basingstoke, the latter seeing attempts increase 281 per cent year-on-year.

Who is most at risk of ID Fraud?

As fraudsters turn their hands to new tactics, their targets become ever more widespread, focusing on those who flat-share or rent their homes, those with  generous disposable income and individuals whose wealth makes them a key overall target.

Heading up the table of those most ‘at-risk’ are Britain’s most wealthy and influential.  According to Experian’s new report, the often visible wealth of the Alpha Territory Mosaic demographic and their ability to access substantial credit lines makes them three times more likely to be targeted for ID fraud than the national average.

The second most at-risk demographic in 2010 were the young professionals of the Liberal Opinions Mosaic groups. Their dependence on the internet and tendency to live in rented and shared accommodation with high tenant turnover, meant they were twice as likely to become victims of fraud as they unwillingly exposed personal details to a wide range of opportunistic and criminal fraudsters.

Alongside these more affluent groups, are young, single people usually on limited incomes, renting small flats from local councils or housing associations – the Upper Floor Living demographic. This group has become a more popular target over recent years as fraudsters have sought to perpetrate higher volumes of low value crimes as a way of attempting to circumnavigate increasingly sophisticated fraud defences.

The least likely to become identity fraud victims are those whose circumstances make them less accessible to criminals. Over 65’s, for example, who have made a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from large cities, and the large numbers of pensioners that can no longer engage in high levels of physical activity are all four times less likely to be a victim of fraud.


Notes to editor:

*The Experian Fraud Report 2010 is an analysis of information from the National Hunter anti-fraud data sharing system and the Insurance Hunter database.

About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 90 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2010 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.


Ben Dobson, Resonate

020 7861 2525/07821 434573


Matt Henson, Resonate

020 7861 2525/07921 815446