Research from Experian shows that current accounts have become the most targeted financial product by fraudsters for the first time ever, so it's even more vital to be on your guard.
According to figures for the first three months of the year, at least 89 in every 10,000 applications for a current account were made by an imposter, with the rise in identity fraud thought to be behind the increase – at the end of the first quarter of 2014, 32% of fraudulent current account applications were attempted by people who had stolen an identity, but by the end of March this year, this figure had jumped to 49%.
Notably, current account fraud has now surpassed mortgage application fraud, which up until now had been the biggest target. Figures show that 83 out of every 10,000 applications for mortgage are fraudulent, and while still a worrying amount, fraudulent current account applications have beaten it.
Experian suggests that "the trend has come as criminals continue to probe for weaknesses in the seven-day switching system", and there's a reason current account fraud is becoming the scammers' method of choice. Not only can fraudsters benefit from a quick win by withdrawing overdraft facilities, but current accounts can also act as a stepping stone for criminals to apply for other financial products using the same stolen details.
Nick Mothershaw, of Experian, comments on the findings: "Recent figures from the Payments Council show that there has been a 7% year-on-year rise in current account switching. While fraudsters may be taking the opportunity to test the security of lenders' systems, increased detection rates are showing that their systems are clearly holding up.
"It is important for people to take measures to ensure their details remain their own. Knowing what your bank can and cannot ask you for will help you avoid phishing scams. Making sure sensitive mail is shredded is also important, [and] keeping an eye on your credit report can help you spot any suspicious activity."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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