Fraudulent credit applications against people in their twenties have soared in the last three years, according to new research from Experian.
The proportion of frauds against those under 30 years old has risen by 6% since 2014, while those aged 50 and up have experienced a decrease of 8.4% over the same period.
A spokesman for Experian, said: “Our statistics show young people are increasingly falling into the crosshairs of fraudsters, who see them as an easier target to open an account. They are more interested in getting an account open so they can use it for money laundering, or to establish a footprint at the bank for further fraudulent activity.
“Young people are more likely to live their lives online, so there is a good chance they will not be monitoring their post for statements. They often live in accommodation with shared mail areas, which provides an opportunity for fraudsters to intercept their post. Fraud can happen to anyone and it’s important not to get complacent. If you do use online statements then make time to check them each month, and keep an eye on your credit report for unexpected applications.”
The 60-plus cohort have experienced the sharpest decline in fraud attacks, down 5.8%, suggesting they have heeded advice to monitor their statements for suspicious activity, given scam emails a wide berth and use a range of passwords online.
In 2014 the stereotype was supported by statistics, with 17.1% of frauds perpetrated against people aged 60 and over. But this year, 11.2% of frauds are against this age group, the biggest single movement of stats related to age.
Shifting targets of fraudsters:
- Are male: Males victims have seen a rise in frauds of 1.6%, since 2014
- Are 20-29 years old: This age group has faced a rise of 5.7% in attacks since 2014
- Live in London: 28% of frauds in the UK are targeted against London residents
Fraudulent applications for current accounts reached 164 in every 10,000 in the second quarter of 2017, up from 128 in every 10,000 between April and June last year. Mortgage fraud rose to 75 from 63 in every 10,000 applications over the same period, although credit card fraud dropped from 48 to 42 in every 10,000 applications year-on-year.
Households struggling to get by on minimal incomes who prefer to deal in cash are becoming a particular target of fraudsters, analysis using Experian’s Financial Strategy Segments (FSS) tool shows. Frauds against this group are up 2.4% compared to last year and 4.2% since 2015. Other households struggling to make ends meet in the Family Pressures segment were also increasingly preyed upon by scammers, up 4% over two years.
Experian offers 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’s crucial to have unique and 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 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 worst happen.
Check the post: While e-banking is becoming increasingly popular, receiving unexpected, irrelevant mail, could be a warning sign of ID fraud – particularly mail that is outside of your usual purchasing habits. 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: By being credit smart and checking your credit report to see if there are rogue applications, 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.