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Current accounts can be a ‘front door for fraudsters’, a credit checking company has warned. Experian’s new ID Fraud Tracker suggests current account fraud is now nearly triple what it was two years ago, while credit card fraud has more than doubled within the same period. In both cases, the increase has been driven by fraudsters using stolen personal details of genuine individuals to attempt to open current accounts or apply for credit cards.
Nick Mothershaw at Experian said: “A lot of people may see the news about current account fraud and think that it’s not as bad as having their card details stolen. But it is…in fact it could be an Achilles’ heel when it comes to their identity. Current account fraud not only presents an immediate threat of emptying someone’s overdraft facilities, but can act as a front door for fraudsters to access a wide range of financial products, including credit cards.
“Current accounts and cards are tightly linked, and it’s no surprise that card fraud has grown alongside the rise in current account fraud. We urge people to be vigilant about activity on their account. We all have a role to play in keeping our identities safe, and we’re encouraging everybody to do their bit. Even something as simple as making sure you regularly check your electronic statements can help to identify fraudulent activity before it escalates into something much worse.”
Private renters who live in shared accommodation in young urban neighbourhoods, aged 26 to 35 (known as ‘Rental Hubs’), continue to be the biggest targets for fraudsters – 18.4 per cent of all victims. However, fraudsters are particularly increasing their focus on those ‘transient renters’, mainly 18 to 25 years old, who tend to share private low-cost housing and are most likely to move more regularly. They saw the biggest rise in fraud over the last 12 months and now account for 7.1 per cent of all fraud victims, compared to 4.9 per cent last year, says Experian.
Mothershaw said: “People who live in rented homes need to know that fraud is a very real and, sadly, growing danger for them in particular. What makes them easy targets for fraudsters is the fact that many share accommodation and also move regularly – within one or two years. Unless they are regularly monitoring all their credit applications, it is likely to be a while before they realise they have become victims. They are also high users of smart phones and social media, so they really are prime targets.”