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Identity 2020 report

Identity fraud could be reaching a ‘tipping point’, according to a new report from a data intelligence company. GBG says that its State of Digital Identity: 2020 report found that a ‘trust gap’ may be widening between businesses and consumers, as identity theft becomes prevalent and businesses become over-confident.

A digital acceleration in 2020 due to the pandemic has seen new cohorts of customers join the digital economy: a third of consumers aged 75 or older signed up to a new online account this year, for example. Despite a fifth of the public being hit by identity fraud this year, businesses are prioritising experience over security: more than a quarter (28pc) say ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ levels of fraud are still accepted within their organisation.

GBG suggests that the public has become more concerned about fraud as a result of Covid-19, and despite many instances of over-confidence, businesses feel unprepared for emerging threats such as ‘social engineering’ and ‘synthetic identity fraud’ (whereby a criminal combines real and fake information to create a new identity).

As for digital acceleration, near half, 
47pc of consumers opened an online shopping account this year, followed by social media (35pc) and online banking (31pc). They increasingly see their mobile number (50pc), email address (48pc) and biometric data (28pc) as core parts of their identity. As for consumer opinions, one in three say that they have become more worried about fraud, as a result of Covid-19. Yet, businesses are prioritising experience and sales over security: more than a quarter (28pc) of companies say ‘high or extremely’ levels of fraud are accepted by their organisation

A black market for personal data contributes to anxiety
; a third, 33pc of the public now believe their personal information is available for sale online; research suggests that identities are ‘for sale’ on the dark web from as little as £10. 
Businesses say credit and debit card fraud (56pc), phishing attacks (46pc) and e-transfer fraud (37pc) are most prevalent – but firms are now least prepared to fend off synthetic identity fraud (26pc), IP piracy (26pc) and social engineering attempts (25pc)

As for banks, they are most at risk of losing trust, topping consumers’ fears over fraud risk (36pc) – followed by government fraud (11pc).

Gus Tomlinson, GM of Identity Fraud, Europe at GBG, led on the research. She says: “The complex set of data points which shape our identity are now vital in keeping the wheels of commerce turning. They create digital trust, allowing people and providers to interact safely without opening the floodgates to fraud.

She cites the concept of ‘friendly friction’ as key to economic growth, post-pandemic: “The research shows that not only is identity fraud already prolific, the ‘trust gap’ it creates poses a risk to industries which will depend on digital trust if they are to thrive in 2021 and beyond. For some businesses and even entire sectors, we are nearing a tipping point: get this balance wrong, and lose trust – and therefore customers – for good.”

About the report

For the full report visit:

GBG commissioned market intelligence firm Qualtrics to conduct a survey of over 1,000 consumers over the age of 18, and over 150 business decision-makers across industries. The data spans five markets: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The report incorporates publicly available data from the UK trade body Cifas, and the UK official Office for National Statistics (ONS).


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