Credit referencing agency Experian are reporting that over 12 million pieces of personal information was used for fraudulent reasons in the first quarter of 2012, a 300% increase since 2010.
The data, which breaks down the most common credit related issues that victims of fraudulent activity experience, is a stark warning that people should be fully aware of their personal data and ensure passwords and internet security are kept up to date. The victims of online fraud can often face credit implications at a later date in ways they may not have thought.
According to their findings, victims of identity theft experience:
- (14%) refusal of loans or credit cards
- (9%) debts being run up in their name
- (7%) refusal of mobile contracts
- (7%) being chased by debt collectors for money they do not owe
One of the primary factors behind the increase of identity theft is due to the fact that more people are registering their details online than previously. It is thought the average individual has 26 online accounts but only uses around five different passwords.
Earlier this week, Eric Doerr, group program manager for Microsoft account system (formerly Windows Live ID), said:
“This highlights the longstanding security advice to use unique passwords, as criminals have become increasingly sophisticated about taking a list of usernames and passwords from one service and then ‘replaying’ that list against other major account systems.”
“When they find matching passwords they are able to spread their abuse beyond the original account system they attacked.”