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identity fraud SPACE

identity fraud SPACE INVADERS ALL TOO OFTEN VICTIMS OF IDENTITY FRAUD DO NOT EVEN REALISE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN TARGETED. BY THEN, IT IS WAY TOO LATE - THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE Cifas, the UK's leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing that identity fraud has hit the highest levels ever recorded. A record 172,919 identity frauds were recorded in 2016, which was more than in any other previous year. Identity fraud now represents more than half of all fraud that is recorded by the UK's fraud datasharing organisation (53.3% of all frauds recorded to Cifas), of which 88% was perpetrated online. The vast majority of identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often victims do not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating. To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters need access to their victim's personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with. Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, from stealing mail through to hacking; obtaining data on the 'dark web'; exploiting personal information on social media, or though 'social engineering' where innocent parties are persuaded to give up personal information to someone pretending to be from their bank, the police or a trusted retailer. Cifas has seen growing numbers of young people falling victim in recent years and this upward trend continued in 2016, with almost 25,000 victims under thirty. "In particular, we saw a 34% increase in under 21s, and therefore Cifas is again calling for better education around fraud and financial crime and urging young people to be vigilant about protecting their personal data." Last year also saw increases in victims aged above the age of forty, with 1,869 more victims recorded by Cifas members. NO 1 THREAT Mike Haley, deputy chief executive, Cifas, makes the following obseravtions: "These new figures show that identity fraud continues to be the number one fraud threat. With nine out of ten identity frauds committed online and with all age groups at risk, we are urging everyone to make it more difficult for fraudsters to abuse their identity. There are three simple steps that anyone can take to protect themselves: use strong passwords, download software updates when prompted on your devices; and avoid using public wi-fi for banking and online 24 computing security July/August 2017 @CSMagAndAwards www.computingsecurity.co.uk

identity fraud shopping. "We all remember to protect our possessions through locking our house or flat or car, but we don't take the same care to protect our most important asset - our identities. We all need to take responsibility to secure our mail boxes, shred our important documents, like bank statements and utility bills, and take sensible precautions online - otherwise we are making ourselves a target for the identity fraudster." As Commander Chris Greany, Cifas national co-ordinator for economic crime, also comments: "With close to half of all crime now either fraud or cybercrime, we all need to make sure we protect our identity. Identity fraud is the key to unlocking your valuables. Things like weak passwords or not updating your software are the same as leaving a window or door unlocked." NO 1 THREAT "We need to get away from this mentality of sharing everything with everyone," points out Barry Scott, CTO EMEA, Centrify. "Sadly, the headlines confirm once again what we already know - that identity fraud is on the rise. It has now reached record levels according to Cifas and reported by the BBC. "What might be more surprising to some is the rise among young people, with the number of under 21s defrauded up by more than a third. All age groups are at risk, but it's clear a generation born into mobile phones and social media is much more likely to share information, often highly confidential personal details, on social media sites and messaging apps." In an online shopping poll last year looking at people's habits and attitudes towards security, Centrify found that 'password hygiene' was a huge problem when shopping online. One in seven individuals admitted that they share passwords with friends and family, so they can log in to their accounts, and 12% said they would accept discounts and special offers from retailers in exchange for their passwords. As online shopping becomes the norm, the convenience and popularity of the process means consumers must be increasingly aware of the risks, and ensure the experience remains safe and secure. The survey reveals that security does remain top of mind with many, as more than 70% of consumers noted they always think about their security/privacy when shopping online. Unfortunately, despite the changing attitudes towards security, far too many people are still making basic security faux pas online. Password hygiene is also a continuing problem when shopping online. Nearly 14% admitted that they share passwords with friends and family so they can login to their accounts, whilst over 50% said they save them to the retailer's websites so as not to forget them. More than half also said that they only sometimes use different passwords for different retailer's websites. PASSWORD FOR 'BRIBES' Most concerning is that one in eight said they would accept discounts and special offers from retailers in exchange for their passwords, highlighting the risks that consumers are willing to take, in order to save money online. "Habits formed in our personal lives are often taken into the workplace - and password sharing in the workplace is a serious problem," cautions Centrify's Barry Scott. "Human error will always be the weakest link in the security chain, but, as Radio 4 Today suggested, perhaps we should consider online fraud classes in schools to help embed a sense of personal protection in children and make them more aware of the dangers of identity theft." As UK Finance is at pains to point out, identity fraud is all too often prompted by the pursuit of money. Once these criminals have access to your personal details, they can effectively take over your persona and 'be you'. "Your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts, get credit cards and loans, apply for state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licences in your name," Katy Worobec, head of fraud and financial crime prevention at UK Finance, comments. "If your identity is stolen, you may have difficulty getting financial products until the matter is resolved." And there are a multiplicity of means for them to effect this personality hijack'. You may become a victim of identity theft, for instance, if: you have lost or had important documents such as your passport or driving licence stolen post expected from your bank has not arrived you are receiving no post at all You may already be a victim of identity theft if: items have appeared on your bank or credit-card statements that you do not recognise you applied for a state benefit, but are told that you are already claiming you receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for you have been refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite having a good credit history a mobile-phone contract has been set up in your name, without your knowledge you have received letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours. www.computingsecurity.co.uk @CSMagAndAwards July/August 2017 computing security 25