18th August 2015
Current account fraud has surged during the second quarter of 2015, with the number of attacks almost doubling.
The rate of fraudulent applications soared from 81 in every 10,000 during Q1 2015, to 151 in every 10,000 applications by the end of Q2, according to Experian, the credit reference agency.
The increase is due to large-scale targeted fraud and identity theft. In Q1 2015, 49% of all current account fraud was identity theft, but by Q2 2015 this figure had risen to 69%.
Nick Mothershaw, director of identity and fraud at Experian, says: “We’ve seen current accounts slowly become the main target for criminals over the past year, but this sudden surge in fraud is alarming and indicative of a widespread organised attack on financial service providers.
“The good news is that these figures relate to detected and prevented fraud so these large scale attacks are being blocked before the damage is done. However, it does reveal the fervour with which fraudsters are targeting current accounts and the dangers for both the individuals whose identities are stolen and the organisations trying to protect them.”
Despite the growth in current account fraud there has also been a sharp decrease in the rate of fraudulent mortgage applications. In Q1 2015, the fraud rate stood at 83 in every 10,000 applications, but by Q2 2015, this had dropped to 70 in every 10,000. This is the first time since Q3 2013 the quarterly fraud rate for mortgages has dropped below 80 in every 10,000 applications.
For more on fraud rates by financial product and regional hotspots, see Experian’s interactive fraud dashboard here.
Tips for keeping safe from current account fraud:
Always shred or destroy documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.
Never respond to cold phone calls or e-mails asking for account details, PINs, passwords or personal information
Don’t give too much away on networking websites. For example, pets’ names or children’s names could be used as passwords
Register to vote at your current address. If you don’t, thieves could use your previous address details to open new credit accounts, and run up debts in your name.
Monitor your post regularly so you know when to expect important documents — and when to act if they don’t arrive.
Redirect your mail via the Post Office if you move house.
Always use secure, unique passwords for as many online accounts as possible, and ideally all of them. At the very least have a unique password for each type of service provider such as financial services, retail services and email.
Don’t store account names and passwords on your smartphone, either in email, as a note, or to ‘autocomplete’ when you open a website or app. It will be a goldmine for fraudsters if your device is lost or stolen.
Read all bank and card statements regularly to check for suspicious transactions.
Check your credit report, because it lists your credit accounts and what you owe, so you can spot applications and spending that are nothing to do with you.