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Identity theft up by a third


The number of people who have been a victim of identity theft in the UK has risen by almost a third, according to research from fraud prevention agency Cifas.

Cifas has claimed that the number of people who have fallen foul to attacks on their identity have risen by 31% to 32,058 in the first three months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.

Identity theft is when a criminal uses the personal data or details of an innocent victim to purchase products or services. Criminals will often share personal data on internet forums, and then use that information to open bank accounts or apply for credit cards.

More than 80% of identity fraud is committed online, and the average age of a victim of identity fraud is 46. Cifas warned that the 21-30 age group continue to be increasingly targeted - with the number of victims in that age bracket up 26% from 2014.

Darren Innes, chief executive of due diligence company C6 Intelligence, said:
"You're going to be spending an awful lot of time getting the money back.
"You may still be liable and there have been many cases where people have still had to pay bills, even though it has had nothing to do with them in the first place... The mental anguish is quite severe."

Det Supt Jayne Snelgrove, who leads the Met's fraud and cyber team, said:
"False IDs are used to carry out crime, hide criminal identities and allow people to live in the UK illegally.
"People with false IDs are in jobs they should not be in, potentially posing a risk to vulnerable people. They are accessing money they have no right to and living where they ought not be."

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