Tackling the problem of identity fraud
14% Rise In Identity Fraud From 2016 to 2018 In Wales
Today I am sponsoring an event in the Welsh Assembly to highlight problem of fraud and scams
Figures from the UK fraud prevention service, Cifas, show that there is a 14% rise in identity fraud when the first half of 2016 is compared to the first half of 2018 in Wales.
In the first six months of 2016 there were 1845 identity fraud cases compared to 2095 in the first six months of 2018 for Wales.
This data comes on the back of the latest Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Survey which showed that fraud in both nations is the most prevalent crime. Action Fraud earlier this year showed that people in Wales reported losing £17.1 million to fraudsters from October 2017-March 2018.
On Wednesday 19 September 2018, Dawn Bowden AM, is sponsoring a Welsh Assembly event focussed on tackling fraud and scams along with Cifas.
This event will give Welsh Assembly members and other interested organisations the opportunity to hear about what type of fraud is happening in Wales, who it affects and what can be done to help prevent and tackle this crime.
The anti-fraud event is taking place from 11:00-14:00 on Wednesday 19 September in Dinning Room 1, Ty Hewel
Dawn Bowden, Welsh Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney said “Criminals attempting to defraud people is very distressing for those involved. It can lead to significant financial losses and it is important for us all to remain vigilant. The growth in identity scams and fraud is particularly concerning as so many of us become ever more reliant on technology in our daily lives. The advice offered by Cifas is therefore very welcome in combatting the threat of fraud and impersonation”.
Mike Haley, Chief Executive of Cifas, said “Fraud is an issue that affects all in Welsh Society. Our figures show that identity fraud in particular is a growing crime in Wales and we know that anyone can be a victim of this crime.
More personal information is available online and there are increasing numbers of data breaches which contributes to the rise in identity fraud. That is why everyone needs to play their part, from individuals and organisations taking steps to protect personal data to businesses ensuring their fraud prevention practices effectively defend against evolving tactics employed by identity fraudsters.
That is why I am proud that Cifas are supporting this anti-fraud event in the Welsh Assembly”
The fraud prevention services Cifas recommends taking these steps to help prevent identity fraud:
- Set your privacy settings across all the social media channels you use.And just think twice before you share details – in particular your full date of birth, your address, contacts details – all this information can be useful to fraudsters!
- Deactivate and delete old profiles on social media sites that you no longer use. Keep track of your digital footprints. If a profile was created ten years ago, there may be personal information currently available for a fraudster to use that you’re are not aware of or you have forgotten about.
- Password protect your devices. Keep your passwords complex by picking three random words, such as roverducklemon and add or split them with symbols, numbers and capitals:R0v3rDuckLemon!
- Install anti-virus software on your laptop and any other personal devices and then keep it up to date. MoneySavingExpert have a recommended list of the best free anti-virus software. (https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-anti-virus-software/)
- Take care on public Wi-Fi – fraudsters hack them or mimic them. If you’re using one, avoid accessing sensitive apps such as mobile banking.
- Download updates to your software when your device prompts you – they often add enhanced security features.
- Think about your offline information too, like post. Always redirect your mail when you leave home and try to make sure your mailbox is secure.
What to do if you’re a victim:
ACT FAST if you think you have been a victim of identity fraud
- If you receive any mail that seems suspicious or implies you have an account with the sender when you don’t, do not ignore it.
- Get a copy of your credit report as it is one of the first places you can spot if someone is misusing your personal information – before you suffer financial loss. Review every entry on your credit report and if you see an account or even a credit search from a company that you do not recognise, notify the credit reference agency.
- Individuals or businesses who have fallen victim to fraud should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at ww.actionfraud.police.uk
- If you have information about those committing identity crime please tell independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
- If you have been a victim of fraud, you can contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice and support. Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. Find out more at www.victimsupport.org.uk