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CIFAS calls for action on fraud

Nia Williams

October 19, 2010

Identity fraud has increased by nearly 10% in the first nine months of 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009. More alarmingly, the number of victims of impersonation has risen by 18.38% from the same period in 2009. More people are being impersonated, demonstrating that the use of completely fictitious identities by identity fraudsters is being replaced by criminals obtaining and using the details of genuine innocent victims.

CIFAS communications manager, Richard Hurley, commented: “The effect of such impersonations can be devastating. From finding out that a fraudster has set up, or attempted to obtain, accounts, products and services in your name, through to discovering that an existing account has been emptied by criminals, the result is the same: anguish, uncertainty and financial damage.

“As research from CIFAS, and latterly the National Fraud Authority, demonstrates, in serious cases, it can take a victim up to 200 hours to repair the damage – equivalent to a year’s annual leave. The effects upon the sense of well-being of the victim, however, are unquantifiable.

“People want convenience whether they are conducting business online or in the physical world, but this must not be at the expense of security. Whether it is ensuring that safety features are communicated clearly and up front on a new product, or making sure that we ourselves – individually – do not place ourselves at undue risk, we can all play a part in combating identity fraud.

“Government too, can take steps to ensure that the details of confirmed frauds are shared so that – collectively – we can all beat the identity fraudsters.”

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