Consumers are still exposed to the risk the of identity theft, with the latest figures showing a 300% rise in incidences of ‘phishing’ since 2010.
Despite innovations in secure technology, spyware and malware software figures from credit-checking firm Experian have revealed that internet fraudsters have managed to exchange 12 million pieces of personal information.
Many consumers only realise they have been victims of identity theft when they have spotted irregular activity on their accounts.
For 14% of victims the penny dropped when their applications for loans or credit cards were refused. To get the best rates on your borrowing, you can compare credit cards with Money Expert.
Almost 10% of consumers were also alerted to phishing scams when they accumulated debts that weren’t their own, while a further 7% became suspicious when they were refused a mobile phone contract.
The key driver behind the increase in online fraud is a discrepancy between the number of accounts held by consumers and the number of passwords they have.
While the number of online accounts held is an average of 26, the number of passwords that consumers have it just five.
“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,” said Eric Doerr, group program manager for Microsoft account system.
“When they find matching passwords they are able to spread their abuse beyond the original account system they attacked.”
Figures released earlier this year showed that while incidences of fraud were continuing to grow in some areas, they were declining in others.
The UK Card Association revealed that over the past three years credit card fraud fell by nearly 45%. In the last year alone, theft has decreased by 7% to £341 million, compared to £365.4 million in 2010.