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Tech-savvy targeted by ID thieves, says Experian

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Nearly a quarter of identity fraud victims in the UK last year were tech-savvy mobile and social media users, according to a credit checking service.

Experian identified the group, which only made up 8% of the population, as suffering the biggest rise in ID theft.

There was a 17% rise in victims among this group compared with 2014.

The analysis comes shortly after fraud prevention service Cifas said Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn had become a "hunting ground" for identity thieves.

Experian said those on social media should be cautious about the information they shared, especially if details such as their pets' names were used as passwords elsewhere on the web.

Personal details

"It is vital that those embracing technology also embrace protecting themselves online. Using the latest device doesn't necessarily mean full protection and being complacent about the risk of ID theft makes for a tempting target for ID fraudsters," said Nick Mothershaw, a fraud expert from Experian.

The next biggest rise in identity theft was among older and retired households, predominantly living in rural communities.

"These people are being targeted through phone and email scams by fraudsters trying to steal their details," said Mr Mothershaw.

"They tend to be less aware of the types of scams fraudsters undertake, who can be very manipulative and sound trustworthy on the phone. The sole rule is to never give out personal details, passwords or Pins to anyone, whether it is on the phone or by email."

A report published earlier this year estimated the annual cost of fraud in the UK was £193bn - equal to nearly £3,000 per head of population.


How to protect yourself and social media

  • Be wary of publishing any identifying information about yourself - either in your profile or in your posts - such as phone numbers, pictures of your home, workplace or school, your address or birthday
  • Use the privacy features to restrict strangers' access to your profile. Be on your guard against "phishing" scams, including fake friend requests and posts from individuals or companies inviting you to visit other pages or sites
  • Be aware of what friends post about you, or reply to your posts, particularly about your personal details and activities
  • Pick a user name that does not include any personal information. For example, "joe_glasgow" or "jane_liverpool" would be bad choices
  • Use strong passwords. Do not use the same password or Pin for more than one account, and do not use your date of birth or your child's name, include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Aim for a minimum of 10 characters in a password
  • Update your computer's firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes. Up to 80% of cyber-threats can be removed by doing this

Source: Cifas and Get Safe Online

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