12 million people impacted by identity fraud in UK in 2020

A new study reveals that one in five, equating to 12 million people, have been affected by identity fraud this year, having been informed that their personal information has been exposed as the result of a data breach. The research carried out by technology Company, GBG, also found that consumer trust in organisations had diminished as a result of the greater prevalence of identity theft since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The findings come amid a year in which there has been a much greater reliance on digital services as a result of social distancing restrictions. The report revealed that 47 per cent of people had opened up a new online shopping account while 35 per cent had opened a new social media account and 31 per cent an online bank account in 2020. Additionally, crucially it found that a third of consumers aged 75 or older had signed up to a new online account this year. With greater numbers of older customers moving online as a result of the pandemic the risk of identity fraud grows as a result of two very sad, but proven reasons. Firstly, older customers are targeted heavily by scammers as they are more likely to provide information about themselves and also because if they pass away, they can also fall victim to deceased identity fraud, which is now the fastest growing form of ID fraud in the UK. In this crime scammers steal the identities of people that have passed away, sourced from information such as memorial walls on social media, obituaries, funeral notices in the paper and use this information to wipe out bank accounts, run up credit and order expensive retail goods. 

Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that a third of consumers have become more concerned about fraud due to COVID-19. Despite these concerns, many businesses appear to have a lax attitude to this issue, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) surveyed stating that “high” or “extreme” levels of fraud are accepted within their organisation. This could be because of a greater emphasis on delivering a frictionless customer experience ahead of fraud prevention and security, with 54 per cent of businesses finding this a more difficult balance to strike. 

GBG also predicts that during this year’s festive shopping period, online retailers will face an average of 20,000 fraud attempts each, potentially leading to up to 24 million customers falling victim to e-commerce fraud from November to January. 

For a fast, cost efficient and effective way to reduce the risk of deceased identity fraud impacting your business over the festive period please don’t hesitate to contact us.