Elderly home-owners increasingly targeted by identity thieves

Elderly couples and pensioners are at increased risk from identity thieves, it has now emerged.

As current account fraud rises to the highest levels yet, older individuals who own comfortable homes and may have an additional income to their state pensions, have felt the brunt of identity thieves’ efforts.  Within the first six months of this year, ID theft among this group climbed 1.8 per cent, compared to the same period in 2014.

Our demographic profiling identifies this specific social segment as Senior Security. It accounts for nearly one in 20 (4.6 per cent) detected current account frauds in the UK – this compares to 2.8 per cent in 2014 and 1.9 per cent in 2013.

When looking at identity theft across all applications for financial products, the biggest increase has been among extended families from multi-cultural backgrounds in settled communities.  This segment is called Urban Cohesion and has seen identity theft rise by 1.3 per cent during the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2014.  The group is also now fraudsters’ second most targeted segment, accounting for more than one in 10 (11.1%) of all ID theft victims.

Our insight has also highlighted a gender imbalance. Men are now victims in two out of three ID thefts (63%) of all financial product applications.

Criminals creating bogus current account applications have been targeting men aged between 50 and 59 (up 3.4%) during the first six months of the year.  This age group now accounts for nearly one in five (17.6%) current account ID thefts attempted against men.

Fraudsters are clearly widening their net and we are seeing a growing number of cases involving older members of society.  Older individuals in this category often have a good credit rating and have lived at the same address for a long time. Individuals need to be careful of websites and emails asking for personal information, such a as confirmation of their date of birth. This information is then used by criminals to apply for new financial products.

We are also seeing more residents of urban communities falling victims to fraud.  One in five people within this group is over 56 years old.

But it’s important that everyone, regardless of age, takes measures to ensure their details remain their own, because fraudsters will easily find those who don’t.

Young renters are still the main targets for overall ID theft across all financial products, accounting for nearly a fifth (18.5%) of all fraud. For more in-depth segmentation analysis, please click here.

Our interactive fraud dashboard also provides the latest insight for those wishing to stay up to date. Launched earlier this year, it is the first of its kind in the UK and shows fraud rates by financial product as well as regional hotspots and high profile fraud facts. To see the dashboard please click here.

For more information on helping prevent you or your customers becoming a victim of ID fraud, please click here.

We work closely with National Hunter, the UK’s leading fraud prevention system, operated by Experian on behalf of members. It enables financial institutions to cross-match applications against more than 100 million previous application records in order to spot commonalities and anomalies that are potentially indicative of fraud for further investigation.