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Identity Fraud Hikes 70% in July-December 2006

In the latter half of 2006, the number of identity fraud victims went up 70% compared to the same months in 2005, show new figures. Experian, a credit reference agency said during July-December last year, around 2,124 people reported to the agency informing about being victims of deception. The victims who were prey to attackers first time ever had risen 69% over the last six months of 2006.

This hike occurred at a time when organized criminal gangsters were also increasing operations of their identity fraud gangs worldwide, the firm said.

Of those affected people, nearly half did not realize the attack until their financial firms contacted them. They became aware of their precarious situation when 41% people reviewed their periodical credit report.

This is almost like being at the edge of an iceberg, because Experian's consumers are so much aware that they can request a credit report copy, Jill Stevens, director of consumer affairs at Experian told Reuters.

According to research, fraudsters may tend to use current address of their victims instead of the old ones. Experian said current address defrauding involved sophisticated methods using e-mail tapping or diversion where 45% of such cases were reported in the latter half of 2006.

London continues to be the identity fraud metropolis of U.K. while the entire highest 25 at-risk regions lie inside the M25. Identity theft is more likely to affect people of London two and a half times more than others elsewhere.

Research also shows that fraudsters primarily target top-salaried people like directors and business owners. They are likely to become victim four times more than the usual U.K. resident.

Anne Green, a consultant on fraud at Experian said that Internet fraud fuelled identity fraud over the past ten years transforming it from a cottage-like small industry to a mass-marketing crime. Reuters published Green's statement on April 12, 2007. He further added that sophisticated criminal groups carry out the major proportion of identity fraud currently. These gangs run identity fraud rings all over the world. They involve a network of associates, middlemen, hackers and techies whom they recruit and manage online.

Related article: Identity Fraud Looming on Users of Facebook

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