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Identity theft levels reach new heights

23 April 2018 - 14:22 by Mike Price

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Consumers in the UK are being hit with identity theft in greater numbers than ever before, according to figures published last week by Cifas.

The Register reports that almost 175,000 cases of this type of fraud were reported in 2017, with many more likely going unreported.

The internet is the main proponent of identity theft, allowing con artists to steal personal information and then use this to carry out other nefarious activities which hurt innocent Brits.

Cybercriminals made increased efforts to subvert sites which offer safe shopping online last year, with the focus on payment card fraud lessening as a result.

These gangs look for the path of least resistance when attempting to exploit online services, which is why things like e-commerce accounts and network provider contracts have come under fire, as they are seen as a soft target.

This shows that the work which banks have done to shore up their digital security measures are making a difference. So while people are less likely to have their bank account hacked directly, they could lose money through other web-based channels.

Phishing sites and malicious software are still the most problematic and powerful tools at the disposal of fraudsters. Social engineering is also popular, with users of social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, being targeted.

It pays for consumers to stay on top of the latest stories relating to fraud if they want to be able to carry out safe shopping online and keep their personal information safe. The tricks used by cybercriminals are varied, often relying on convincing people that their accounts have already been compromised in order to con them into giving away private data.

Improvements to security systems can only go so far to protect web users; it is the prevalence of social engineering scams that will remain a weak link in the chain.