Company directors targeted by identity fraudsters

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Shredded bank statement

Company directors are the victims of one in five cases of identity fraud, according to fraud prevention organisation Cifas.

They account for 19% of victims of these type of fraud cases, despite making up less than 9% of the UK population.

Directors have been targeted directly by scams owing to the potential for con-artists to steal large sums.

Fraud victims are most likely to be aged between 31 and 50, Cifas said.

However, the biggest rise in 2016 from the previous year was among those aged 21 and under.

Cifas also warned that fraudsters were attempting to obtain credit files as a pre-cursor to committing identity fraud.

Some 47% of recorded identity frauds involving fraudulently obtained credit files from company directors took place in London and the South East of England. In comparison, Wales and the North East of England each accounted for 2% of these fraud cases.

Social engineering

The vast majority of identity fraud takes place when a fraudster pretends to be an individual, so as to buy a product or take out a loan in their name.

Fraudsters get hold of the necessary personal material by stealing mail, computer hacking, obtaining data on the dark web, and exploiting personal information on social media, according to Cifas.

They can also gather it though social engineering, where people give up personal information to someone pretending to be from their bank, the police or a retailer.

Cifas advises people to shred important paper documents – and use passwords, privacy settings and anti-virus software on their computers.

How to protect yourself from identity crimes

  • Limit the amount of personal information you give away on social networking sites. Your real friends know where you live and know your birthday
  • Update your computer’s firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes. Up to 80% of cyber threats can be removed by doing this
  • Never share passwords or PINs (personal identification numbers) with others and do not write them down
  • Use strong passwords and PINs – don’t use your date of birth or your child’s name, include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Aim for a minimum of 10 characters in a password
  • Do not use the same password or PIN for more than one account
  • Shred all your financial documents before you throw them away

Source: Cifas