Identity fraud rose by more than a fifth this year to a record high. And now Experian is warning that fraudulent activity is set to peak over the Christmas shopping period.

Last year, the fraud rate for credit card fraud was 43% higher in November, compared to the monthly average rate. Fraudsters will typically deploy a multi-channel approach to seduce people into giving up their personal information through emails, text messages and phone calls. Personal information is readily available for purchase on the Dark Web. This gives criminals an easy opportunity to attempt to access credit using stolen details.

Eduardo Castro, MD Identity & Fraud, Experian UK&I, said: The cost of being scammed is not just financial. Victims experience substantial distress too. Identity theft and fraud is increasingly prevalent in the UK. It’s never been more important for people to think twice about their personal information. All unsolicited messages should be approached cautiously unless they are sure it’s genuine. And if there is an offer online which seems too good to be true, it more than likely is.”

£580m: UK Finance estimate for cost of fraud to UK consumers in H123

UK Finance has revealed that fraud cost British consumers £580m in the first six months of 2023.

Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, where a victim is tricked – typically through a phone call, text message, or email – into transferring money to a fraudster, has more incidents of fraud than any other crime type in the UK and costs consumers £239m. However, there are signs of encouragement. Advanced anti-fraud prevention systems deployed by banks prevented £651m from being lost.

Santa fronts Experian social media awareness campaign

Experian has launched a new social media awareness campaign, featuring a scammed Father Christmas.

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He calls in at his local police station to report his identity being stolen. He reveals to the sympathetic but confused police officer that he’s been careless with his personal information.

Castro adds: “Better public awareness of scams and new technology being deployed by businesses across multiple sectors means criminals are facing new challenges.

“However, fraudsters are always looking at new ways to exploit people’s information. The fraud epidemic is a constantly evolving battle, so there is no room for complacency when it comes to prevention.”

Experian prevented more than £1.9bn of fraudulent transactions in the last 12 months. The company says that it identifies a fraudulent application every minute of every day.