Leicestershire Police has today launched an awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.
Identity fraud is an offence that one in four UK adults – 12.275 million people – is believed to have fallen victim to, losing on average £1,200 each. Total losses to the UK adult population are estimated to be £3.3 billion.*
In the first quarter of 2015 there was a 27% increase in identity fraud. The average age of a victim was 46, with men being 1.7 times more likely than women to have their identity stolen.**
The knock-on effects range from the inconvenient to the highly distressing, with issues taking on average 200 hours of a person or businesses time to resolve.
Victims often find that money has been removed from their bank, or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving license has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.
The wider effects for society are also concerning with the proceeds of identity crime often being used to fund further criminal activity.
Paul Wenlock, Head of Leicestershire’s Economic Crime Unit said; “‘Currently 1 in 4 people across the UK fall victim to Identity Fraud. Leicestershire Police supports the launch of the ‘Not With My Name‘ campaign which aims to combat this rising threat by providing advice focused on helping people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail’.
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:“Identity crime – the creation of a false identity or the misuse of a genuine identity – is a key facilitator to committing further criminality, evading detection from law enforcement and laundering criminal profits. What many of us do not appreciate is the sheer scale of the problem, with one in four adults believed to have been a victim.
“To really get to grips with identity crime requires us all to come together and share advice on how to protect our personal information at home, in the workplace and while out in public places. Following the top tips provided by the ‘Not With My Name‘ campaign will help people better understand the nature and scale of the threat they face which in turn will hopefully make them much less likely to fall victim to this type of offence.”
To combat this rising threat the ‘Not With My Name‘ campaign will be highlighting advice focused on helping people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail.
Simon Dukes, Chief Executive, Cifas said: “Every day, people in the UK are falling victim to this awful crime. We are seeing victims from all walks of life, including young, digitally-savvy adults, having their identity stolen.
“The good news is that following the advice from the ‘Not With My Name‘ campaign will make a difference. We urge everyone today to think again about their identity, to treat it as something precious and to make small changes, online and offline, to help to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”
- National Fraud Authority Annual Fraud Indicator 2013
Source:: Leicestershire Police News