While most of us are getting better at protecting our personal information online, the amount of illegally traded information online is going up and up.
An independent study commissioned by Experian has found that more than 110 million pieces of data have been bought and sold by criminals so far in 2014, an increase of 40% from last year alone and 300% on the total amount traded in 2012.*
96.5% of the illegally traded data is login credentials like username and password combinations. Getting into online accounts can give identity fraudsters access to huge amounts of information such as where you bank or shop, linked accounts which may have passwords saved automatically and all the personal information you may have shared over email.
The other data traded is mainly passport details and payment card details, such as card number, expiry date and the security code (three-digit CVV2 number) from the back of the card.
As we mark Get Safe Online week, it seems that on the other hand, Britons are arguably getting more web-savvy. Experian also found that:**
- The average Briton now has 19 different online accounts (27% lower than 2012)
- 25-34 year olds are the most prolific with 28 accounts each (30% lower than 2012)
- Just one in 20 sign up to six or more new online accounts each month, compared to one in five in 2012.
Having said that, many of us are still lax with our password behaviour:
- 1 in 10 Britons use an average of just seven different passwords to keep their information safe
- One in 20 use the same log in details for all of their online accounts
- 1 in 10 Britons never change their passwords.
With a free 30-day trial of CreditExpert*** you can get unlimited views of your Experian Credit Report, which shows credit activity in your name so you can spot potentially fraudulent activity. If you think you have become a victim of identity fraud, notify the police, contact your bank and check your credit report. We have a list of steps you can take in our blog post here.
Experian’s Victims of Fraud service is also available free to fraud victims, and has a dedicated team to give expert advice and support tailored to particular circumstances.
*Analysis carried every six months by an independent security consultant on behalf of Experian
**External consumer research conducted by Opinion Matters among a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults in October 2013.
****A Monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your trial. You may cancel during your 30 day trial without charge. 30 day free trial available to new customers only. Trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access the full service which may take up to 5 days.