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BizReport : Internet : August 08, 2016

Biggest rise in ID theft among the most tech-savvy

Being a tech-savvy mobile and social media user does not preclude a person from falling victim to identity fraud, reveals new research by Experian.

by Helen Leggatt

Almost 8% of the UK population are what Experian describes as prolific social media and mobile users. Yet, according to their research, despite their savviness, this section of the UK's population saw the biggest increase in ID theft, rising by 16.7% over the last year.

The reason this segment are targeted, says Experian, may be due to the fact they have more gadgets, spend more time online than most people and use digital services for a wide range of activities. Furthermore, they live in within dense populations in big cities.

In fact, research by UK fraud prevention service Cifas recently labeled social media as a prime place in which fraudsters trawl for information.

"The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites - they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves," says Cifas CEO Simon Dukes, adding that, "to a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine."

As well as those who are digitally active, identity theft was also on the rise among older and retired households, found Experian. Such households, preyed on perhaps due to their presumed lack of tech-savviness, were mostly targeted via email and telephone calls.

"They tend to be less aware of the types of scams fraudsters undertake, who can be very manipulative and sound trustworthy on the phone," said Nick Mothershaw, a fraud expert from Experian. "The sole rule is to never give out personal details, passwords or Pins to anyone, whether it is on the phone or by email."

Tags: fraud, Identity theft, research, social media, UK

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