News and Press

Coronavirus sparks significant rise in identity fraud

New research from Transunion reveals that one in 10 people in the UK have fallen victim to a coronavirus scam, losing an average of £550 each. Moreover, nearly a quarter of UK consumers (23 per cent) have been targeted by fraudsters over the past two months alone.

The most common types of scam were requesting donations to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) or to fund companies claiming to offer a cure for coronavirus.

Victims also lost money to fraudsters offering goods in short supply, such as toilet roll or hand sanitiser, which never showed up when purchased.

Contacting people via email and phone were the most common methods used by fraudsters. However 12 per cent of scams were carried out in person.

People aged 18-34 and living in major cities were found to be the most vulnerable accounting for 66 per cent of those affected by coronavirus fraud. Whilst men were revealed to be more likely than women to fall victim to scams with 62 per cent of those affected being male.

What is clear is that people are already in a vulnerable position at this time and it is critical that we all take extra care and remain vigilant to fraudsters and their tactics to steal personal information. Already this morning I have received an email purporting to be from Google saying that my account needs updating and if I don’t click a link in the email my account will be immediately suspended losing everything. It looks very authentic and it is only on close inspection of the senders email address that it shows signs of being bogus. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated at finding ways to extract information from victims which they can then use to commit identify fraud. This is why it is also critical that organisations protect themselves - the more information that fraudsters have, the more likely it is that they will attempt to defraud businesses applying for credit or buying items using credit facilities with a stolen identity. And even more worrying is that there is a natural correlation between death rates and incidences of deceased identify fraud – which is when fraudsters use the identity of people that have passed away to obtain good and credit fraudulently. We are in a time where mortality rates across the globe have sadly increased due to the pandemic so being aware of increased identity fraud is even more important particulaly as lockdown starts to lift and businesses reopen. Deceased data unfortunately doesn't have a use by date and therefore fraudsters may choose not to use it right now, but in the future - at a time when many businesses will be looking to make up as much lost revenue as possible and therefore may not be as vigilant as in the past.

For further information on how to limit deceased identity fraud please don’t hesitate to contact us