RDATE:23072008
     Identity theft is still booming in the UK and is being driven by
account takeovers according to the CPP Group (CPP).
     The leading Life Assistance firm reports the number of identity theft
fraud cases has grown year-on-year with an alarming 154 per cent
increase from June 2007. In the last six months, a total of 1,066
serious cases of identity theft have reported to CPP and over 210,599
calls have been made into its identity protection helpline for advice
following fears their identities have been stolen.
     In June 2008, a massive 59 per cent of all cases involved account
takeover fraud (where a criminal takes control of someone's bank
account whilst masquerading as the genuine cardholder).
     Fraudsters are also actively taking out unsecured loans (14%) in our
names, taking out credit cards (14%) and mobile phone contracts (13%)
and opening bank accounts (8%), according to the company's internal
research findings.
     Most Popular Types of Identity Theft by Percentage (January 2008 - June
2008)
     Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
     Mobile Phone contracts
     13% 6%
     13% 6%
     9%
     13%
     Credit Card
     13% 14% 13% 14% 11% 14%
     Loan (unsecured)
     18% 19% 18% 19% 10% 14%
     Car Lease
     1%
     2%
     1%
     2%
     0%
     0%
     Cloned Car Number Plate
     1%
     1%
     1%
     1%
     1%
     1%
     Bank Account opened
     4%
     2%
     7%
     10%
     6%
     8%
     Catalogue / Store Cards
     12% 8% 12%
     8%
     11% 8%
     Account takeover
     45% 60% 45%
     60%
     63% 59%
     Mortgage
     2% 1%
     2%
     1%
     0%
     0%
     Benefit Fraud
     1% 0%
     1%
     0%
     0%
     1%
     N.B. Some cases fall into multiple categories.
     Michael Lynch, identity theft expert at CPP, comments, "Since the
beginning of the year we have seen fraudsters put much more effort into
stealing someone's identity. Criminals are committed to taking over
victims' bank accounts to maximise the returns on stealing an identity.
It is worrying that account takeover is so dominant because it is
difficult to untangle the fraud and prove your innocence.
     "In general, people are still not vigilant enough when it comes to
protecting their personal information. Documents are not shredded
before being binned, phishing and social engineering scams are
presenting fraudsters with new opportunities and PIN numbers are being
compromised. Fraudsters are continually keeping up to date with new
technology and methods to commit their crime.
     "It is unfortunate that some people remain a weak link in preventing
fraud and need to be more responsible for their personal information,"
says Lynch.
     Tell-tale signs your account has been taken over by a fraudster
     1.Important mail goes missing like bank, utility or credit cards
statements - they may have been redirected or stolen from communal post
boxes;
     2.Other mail also goes missing
     3.Unfamiliar transactions start to appear on your bank or credit card
statements for items that you haven't purchased or ordered, or for
withdrawals or transfers that you did not make. These transactions
often start very small whilst the fraudster tests the details before
going on to make much bigger purchases
     CPP top tips to reduce the chances of falling victim to account
takeover:
     1.Make sure your post is secure and know when to expect your credit
card, utility bills and bank statements - if they don't turn up, ring
up and ask why
     2.Keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your
personal details, ask yourself why they would need them. This even
applies to any online enquiries
     3.Don't write down PIN numbers, passwords, user names unless you
absolutely have to do so, and if you do, keep them very secure and to
yourself
     4.If you are going to throw away post with your personal details,
including junk mail, always shred it first
     5.If you move house, tell your bank, credit card and utility providers.
Use the Royal Mail redirection service and consider registering with
the mail preference service to prevent mail going to your old address
     6.If you store valuable documents at home, for example, passports,
driving licence and bank statements, keep them hidden and secure. Never
take these documents out with you unless you absolutely have to. If you
store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date security
software
     7.Contact your bank or credit card company immediately if you find an
unfamiliar transaction on your statements regardless of the value
     8.Don't let your cards out of your sight when paying for something.
Guard your cards and insist they are not taken away
     Editors Notes:
     - CPP data taken from January 2008 - June 2008
     Identity Theft Crimes Glossary and Further Analysis
     - Account takeoveris still the most common type of identity fraud.
Fraudsters often skim credit and debit cards illegally and then
purchase goods over the internet or abroad. There are a number of cases
each month which involve criminals accessing the individual's bank
account online and transferring funds to other accounts. The rise in
this form of identity theft could be due to 200 per cent year-on-year
rise in phishing during the first quarter of this year (source: APACS).
Phishing refers to the criminal activity in obtaining personal and bank
information by sending an e-mail urging people to click on the link and
clarify their bank details. The information will then be used to access
bank accounts and withdraw money.
     - Mobile phone contractsbeing taken out fraudulently have significantly
decreased since 2006. Taking out fraudulent mobile phone contracts
peaked in February 2007, representing 42 per cent of all identity theft
cases. The drop is due to the shift towards cardholder-not-present
(CNP) fraud. APACS reported a 37 per cent increase to over GBP290.5M
from January to December 2007. CNP fraud typically involves a fraudster
using stolen personal details to obtain goods fraudulently over the
phone, internet or by mail order. With more expensive handsets being
introduced to the market, we would expect this figure to increase
again, especially towards the end of the year.
     - Fraudulent application and unsecured loans has increased in the last
month. This type of credit application can become very serious because
it takes a long time for the victims to realise they have been
impersonated. This form of identity theft has little seasonal shift as
opposed to other forms of credit. Obtaining unsecured loan requires
more personal information and fraudsters often use social engineering
scams, accessing information via social networking sites and cold
calling to get hold of the details.
     - After opening the false bank accounts, the fraudsters will keep the
accounts for a number of months before suddenly taking out a couple of
large loans and withdrawing the funds, making it very difficult to
catch them. This is a crime with extremely high rewards but it takes
much more time to build up a relationship with the bank before they can
take out new lines of credit. Some fraudsters do not want to wait for
that long.
     - Car leasedoesn't seem to be a major problem, but it can be tricky
depending on the documents that have been used to set up the lease.
With the prevalence of false documents being available for sale on the
internet, this can take many weeks to rectify. In one particular case,
one of the policyholders had an Aston Martin purchased through finance
in his name.
     - Number plate cloninghas stayed consistently low. This is probably due
to the fact that there is limited financial gain involved. It is often
done to avoid detection and prosecution when the criminals are driving
a stolen car or committing serious cases such as robbery. It is
expected to increase with more cities introducing congestion charges.
It is also relatively easy to purchase false novelty plates off the
internet.
     - False catalogue / store cards saw a peak over the Christmas and New
Year period. This is likely to be repeated in 2008. There will be some
peaks during the summer months when people prepare for their holiday.
This crime appeals to certain types of fraudsters who are not
interested in high-value returns because it is relatively easy and the
funds are reaped immediately. Unfortunately, it is a form of identity
theft that is often committed by someone close to the victim, such as a
neighbour, a friend or even a family member.
     The CPP Group Plc
     The CPP Group Plc (CPP) operates in the emerging Life Assistance
market. We help people deal with some of the tangible anxieties caused
by modern living.
     Whether our customers have lost their wallets, been a victim of
identity theft or are making plans for their retirement CPP can help
remove the hassle from their lives leaving them free to enjoy life.
Globally, our Life Assistance products and services are designed to
simplify the complexities of everyday living whether these affect
personal finances, home, travel, personal data or future plans. When it
really matters, Life Assistance enables people to live life and worry
less.
     We have 10 million customers and more than 280 business partners across
Europe, North America and Asia and employ more than 1,700 employees who
handle millions of service and consumer sales conversations each year.
     In 2007, Group revenue was GBP225.2 million, an increase of more than
14 per cent over the previous year. This is more than four times the
sales level of 2000.
     What We Do: CPP provides a range of assistance products and services
that allow our business partners to forge closer relationships with
their customers.
     We have a solution for many eventualities, including:
     Insuring our customers' mobile phones
     Protecting the payment cards in our customers' wallets and purses,
should these be lost or stolen
     Providing assistance and protection if a customer's keys are lost or
stolen
     Providing advice, insurance and assistance to protect customers against
the insidious crime of identity theft
     Offering advice to people considering legal action and cover for the
costs involved in taking action on a range of legal issues Providing
savings on a range of healthcare services Providing discounts on travel
and hotel bookings
     Monitoring the credit status of our customers
     CPP is an award winning organisation:
     Award Finalist in the National Business Awards, Business of the Year
category, 2007 Named in the Sunday Times 2007 HSBC Top Track 250
companies Regional winner of the National Training Awards, 2007 Winner
of the BITC Health, Work and Well-Being Award, 2007 Highly Commended in
the UK National Customer Service Awards, 2006 Winner of the Tamworth
Community Involvement Award, 2006 Highly Commended in The Press Best
Link Between Business and Education, 2005 and 2006. Winner in 2007
Award Finalist in the National Business Awards, Innovation category,
2005 Award finalist for the 2003 The Royal Bank of Scotland Sunday
Times Business Awards
     Recognised as one of the Growth Plus Europe 500 companies
     PlayBite 08 - Save the date 21st August, 2008
     Registered in England, company No. 03023521, Bite Communications
Limited, The Character Building, 41b Beavor Lane, London W6 9BL
     CONTACT: Adrie Wessels and Eunice Lam, Media Contact, Bite PR for CPP
Tel: +44 (0)20 8834 3411
e-mail: cpp@bitepr.com
WWW: http://www.cppgroupplc.com
Eunice Lam, Senior Account Executive, Bite Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 8834 3435
Tel: +44 (0)7899 045 693
WWW: http://www.bitepr.com
WWW:http://www.myplaybite.com
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