READER LETTER: Identity fraud - Young being targeted

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The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre are saying that Identity fraudsters are now targeting young people. New research and reports just released is showing a 52 per cent increase in young people are now falling victim to identity fraud.

In 2015, almost 24,000 young people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is an alarming rise and up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.

These figures have been published on the same day as a new short film launched online to raise awareness of this type of fraud.

Identity fraud can happen when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often victims do not realise they are being targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they suddenly experience problems with their credit rating.

Fraudsters are becoming very successful at accessing personal information from their victims accounts, they obtain this information in a variety of ways including hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together, online is a very well used information centre, but the facts are 86 per cent of all identity fraud is obtained through this channel. Fraudsters are very much opportunists and they are finding that banks and lenders have become very professional at detecting false identities, so the fraudsters are now changing their tactics and are targeting people’s details instead.

We all have a role to play in preventing fraud, however it is a concern that society, government and industry do not seem to have the lack of awareness about identity fraud on their radar, which is making it easier for fraudsters to obtain the information that they need.

The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are now not just a thriving social media sight , but they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves, to them the information we put online is a goldmine. We must keep our personal information safe and secure,and in the fight against fraud, education is of prime importance and we must all work together and raise awareness of how the issue is now increasingly affecting young people.

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Hucknall County Councillor

John Wilmott

Representing the Hucknall First Community Forum