Experian CreditExpert’s identity web monitoring service reveals more than 12 million pieces of personal information traded online globally between January and April 2012
London, UK, 17 July 2012 – More than 12 million pieces of personal information were illegally traded online by identity fraudsters in the first four months of 2012, new figures from Experian CreditExpert reveal. Bespoke research* from Experian CreditExpert’s web monitoring service - which helps people to quickly detect ID theft - shows that the first four months of 2012 have already outstripped the entire of 2010 when 9.5million pieces of personal information were illegally traded. Approximately 90% of the illegally traded data during January – April this year consisted of password and login combinations. This dramatic surge is thought to be in part due to consumers having a spiralling number of online accounts.
Experian CreditExpert’s new web monitoring service continuously monitors the web on behalf of its customers - to immediately detect the theft, loss or disclosure of vital personal and financial information.
Additional consumer research commissioned by Experian CreditExpert reveals that the average Briton now has 26 different online accounts with 25-34-year olds being the most prolific, with no fewer than 40.1
The number of online accounts is set to grow further, with nearly one in five of Britons (17 per cent) signing up to six or more new accounts every month, making us more vulnerable to the possibility of having our personal password and login details stolen.
Despite this, Britons use an average of just five different passwords to keep their details safe, with a quarter (24 per cent) using a single password for the majority of profiles, and one in 25 (four per cent) sticking with the same login details for all their accounts.
In addition, many people are potentially putting themselves further at risk by no longer using many of their accounts, resulting in passwords not being changed regularly. In fact, two thirds of adults (66 per cent) admit to having defunct profiles that hold valuable personal and financial information, including social network profiles (26 per cent), email addresses (18 per cent) and shopping accounts (21 per cent).
Peter Turner, Managing Director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and Ireland, commented: “The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable information, such as address books and related accounts.
“Using a different password for each account will minimise risks, but if password information is stolen from a website, all accounts using the same details will be compromised, and this information can spread among fraudsters rapidly.
“Users need to protect themselves with a service like CreditExpert’s web monitoring, which will alert them by text or email at the first signs that their details have been compromised.”
The threat of identity fraud is certainly real, with some two million people having fallen victim2. The consequences are often serious, many victims having debts run up in their name (nine per cent)
The research1 also found that others have been refused loans or credit cards (14 per cent) or turned down for mobile phone contracts (seven per cent) – often the first that a victim knows of their identity having been stolen.
As a solution, as well as using Experian CreditExpert’s new web monitoring service, people are advised to keep a close eye on their personal information and on their credit report for any signs of unusual activity.
KEEPING YOUR ACCOUNTS SECURE
For more information, please contact Bell Pottinger Consumer PR:
Joseph Bradfield – 020 7861 3931 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Sheen – 020 7861 3013 / email@example.com
Notes to editors:
*Two sets of research were conducted:
Experian CreditExpert’s web monitoring system which scans forums where personal information is traded detected that 12 million pieces of data were traded illegally online, globally.
Therefore: 48,091,600 x 0.15 x 0.28 = 2,019,847
Key benefits of Experian CreditExpert membership:
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group 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 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com