UK, 26 September 2016 – Experian has warned that current accounts can be a ‘front door for fraudsters’, as the company’s new ID Fraud Tracker reveals current account fraud is now nearly triple what it was two years ago, while credit card fraud has more than doubled within the same period.
In both cases, the increase has been driven by fraudsters using stolen personal details of genuine individuals to attempt to open current accounts or apply for credit cards.
Nick Mothershaw, fraud expert from Experian, explained:“A lot of people may see the news about current account fraud and think that it’s not as bad as having their card details stolen. But it is…in fact it could be an Achilles’ heel when it comes to their identity. Current account fraud not only presents an immediate threat of emptying someone’s overdraft facilities, but can act as a front door for fraudsters to access a wide range of financial products, including credit cards.
“Current accounts and cards are tightly linked, and it’s no surprise that card fraud has grown alongside the rise in current account fraud. We urge people to be vigilant about activity on their account.
“We all have a role to play in keeping our identities safe, and we’re encouraging everybody to do their bit. Even something as simple as making sure you regularly check your electronic statements can help to identify fraudulent activity before it escalates into something much worse.”
More misery for ‘generation rent’
Private renters who live in shared accommodation in young urban neighbourhoods, aged 26 to 35 (known as ‘Rental Hubs’), continue to be the biggest targets for fraudsters – 18.4 per cent of all victims.
However, fraudsters are particularly increasing their focus on those ‘transient renters’, mainly 18 to 25 years old, who tend to share private low-cost housing and are most likely to move more regularly. They saw the biggest rise in fraud over the last 12 months and now account for 7.1% of all fraud victims, compared to 4.9 per cent last year.
Mothershaw said:“People who live in rented homes need to know that fraud is a very real and, sadly, growing danger for them in particular. What makes them easy targets for fraudsters is the fact that many share accommodation and also move regularly - within one or two years. Unless they are regularly monitoring all their credit applications, it is likely to be a while before they realise they have become victims. They are also high users of smart phones and social media, so they really are prime targets.”
Experian’s new ID Fraud Tracker is a quarterly analysis of fraud rates across a variety of consumer financial products, from cards and current accounts to mortgages and car insurance.
Current account fraud between April and June this year reached 128 fraudulent applications in every 10,000 applications - the fifth consecutive quarter it has exceeded 100 in every 10,000 applications. The rate of fraud in card applications reached 48 in every 10,000 applications during the same period.
The analysis dates back to Q3 2013, when rates of current account and card fraud were at 48 and 21 in every 10,000 applications respectively.
Experian offers some proactive steps people can take against fraud:
Online passwords: There’s nothing more attractive for ID thieves than someone who uses the same password across multiple online accounts. It is crucial to have unique, secure passwords for each online account. People should consider the strength of their password; always use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and – where possible – change them regularly.
Security First: Be conscious of the information you share when using shared Wi-Fi networks. Public networks and open Wi-Fi hotspots can be compromised more easily by fraudsters than secure networks. Be cautious of the information you share on your social profiles such as your email address, date of birth and all other personal information that could be easily traced.
Passcode protect: A lot of personal information is stored on devices that are not password protected. That’s emails, apps, messages – a vast amount of information that could be a goldmine for fraudsters if the device is lost or stolen. People should always lock their mobile device, whether it is with a passcode or a gesture, to prevent access to such information, should the worse happen.
Check the post: Whilst e-banking is becoming increasingly popular, receiving unexpected, irrelevant mail, could be a warning sign of ID fraud - particularly mail that is outside of the usual purchasing sphere. Shred and destroy any documents that contain sensitive, personal details. And if you move house, make sure you re-direct your post and register to vote at your new address.
Be credit wise: Being credit smart and checking your credit report to see if credit has been applied for under false pretences, you can get a better handle on whether personal information has fallen into the wrong hands. Web monitoring tools are also useful as they scour the web for stolen details – sending people an instant notification if their information appears somewhere new online.
Notes to Editors
We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.
We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
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 2016 was US$4.6 billion.