Consumer groups at risk of ID fraud: Study
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Consumer groups at risk of ID fraud: Study

Thursday, 19 October 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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Mumbai: The most common form of identity fraud is for the perpetrator to misuse someone’s previous address, says a study done by Experian, a global information solutions provider. It also reveals that credit and store card issuers are the hardest hit financial organizations.

The results of this new research are published in the Experian Victims of Fraud Dossier. The study sought to highlight identity fraud trends by analysing the experiences of 4,000 victims who had been helped by Experian’s free Victims of Fraud service. This service is run by a dedicated team of people within Experian’s Consumer Help Service who provide expert advice and assistance that helps mend the damage caused by identity fraudsters.

More than half of all victims fall within the 30-50 age group and are almost equally male and female. Experian analysis shows that the likeliest victims include the wealthiest and the most successful homeowners, as well as those living in rented accommodation.

The groups at most risk of ID fraud, according to Experian’s Financial Strategy Segments consumer classification, include: privately-renting, high-flying graduates; thriving young couples with children and high outgoings; young singles in shared, rented accommodation earning reasonable wages; extremely successful people from very wealthy households; and high income earners living in premium-price city residences.

The most popular modus operandi for fraudsters over the past four years has been the fraudulent use of the victim’s present or previous address. The first is where the victim’s details are used by someone living at the same address or the fraudster places a postal redirect on the address; the second involves the fraudster using the victim’s name and their previous address to take advantage of any credit history that has not been transferred to a new address.

In most cases of identity fraud, although there is a cost to victims in terms of distress and time spent reclaiming their identity, most people do not suffer a direct financial loss as a result of a fraud being perpetrated in their name ¬Ė the financial loss is borne by the companies involved. Despite this, people often discover they have become a victim while making an important credit application, such as to buy a house or a car, and this can result in significant inconvenience, especially if the deal is delayed or falls through.

Hardest hit financial organisations in terms of volume are mail order companies ¬Ė more than 60 per cent of all fraudulent accounts identified during the 2005/6 financial year by the Experian Victims of Fraud team were mail order accounts. However, in terms of actual value, the biggest losers were credit and store card issuers, who suffered approximately 35 per cent of the Experian-identified fraud losses during that 12-month period.

In terms of the average cost per fraud case, hire purchase and personal loan accounts are worst affected, with an average loss of £10,200 per HP account and of £7,019 per loan account between April 2005 and March 2006. Telecommunications and mail order companies fare much better, with average losses per victim of £195 and £253 respectively over the same period.

Source: IANS
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