Fraud continues to pose problems in 2010

Some notable facts from the trends show:

  • a 19.86% increase in identity fraud when compared with the same period in 2009,
  • the number of victims of impersonation increased by over 20% compared with the first quarter of 2009, and
  • overall fraud levels remain consistent, with nearly 60,000 proven frauds identified in the first three months of 2010.
Identity fraud has always been a sinister crime - fraudsters using the names and details of innocent victims to generate their criminal cash-flow. An increase in identity fraud of 19.86% in the first quarter of 2010 (compared with the same period in 2009), therefore, is cause for concern.

As CIFAS has previously reported, however, the surge in identity frauds that make use of the victim's current address details (which are therefore more sophisticated and difficult to detect) is a trend that has become more pronounced during the past 12 months. A 44.73% increase in identity frauds where the facility, product, policy or claim was granted (fraud was proved when it was too late, only after the facility had been offered,) is proof of this sinister development.

CIFAS communications manager, Richard Hurley, commented: "The increase in the use of a victim's current address and details makes the ‘impersonation' seem more realistic and, therefore, difficult to detect and prevent due to the applications seeming so plausible. The challenge for us all, therefore, is to battle against the sophisticated criminals that perpetrate these crimes."

The first three months of 2010 actually saw a slight decrease (-1.37%) in the frauds recorded, when compared with the first quarter of 2009. This figure, unfortunately, must be seen in context. Between January and March 2010, CIFAS Members recorded 59,650 frauds - which is actually an increase of 350 on the frauds identified during the previous quarter (October to December 2009).

Richard Hurley noted: "The fight against fraud is "a war of attrition". The changes in the types of fraudulent activity witnessed in the past two years demonstrate that fraud does not disappear - it simply adapts. While any decrease in fraudulent activity can be seen as a good thing, we must not lose sight of the fact that the figures remain consistently high and that fraud remains rife in the UK."