The Christmas period is a time of high-spend for many consumers, and technological developments across recent years have heightened the risk of fraud for many.
With the festive season now upon us and Christmas Day fast approaching, Payment Expert reached out to Experian, a business and consumer data collection and analysis company.
Eduardo Castro, Managing Director Identity and Fraud, Experian UK&I, remarked: “Identity theft and fraud is increasingly prevalent in the UK, and it’s never been more important for people to think twice about their personal information. According to our data, identity fraud rose by 22% in 2023, when compared to last year.”
So what tools do consumers have at their disposal to remain aware of fraud, and combat the risks involved? According to Castro, customers have a large arsenal of measures they can take advantage of.
How to protect yourself from identity fraud
- Don’t overshare on social media. Avoid sharing personal details like your mother’s maiden name or when you’re on holiday. If you do share personal details, then make sure it can only be seen by the people you want to see it.
- Re-register on the electoral roll as soon as you move address. You should also set up a mail redirection, so no personal information goes to your old address.
- Have a unique password for each of your online accounts. This means fraudsters are less likely to gain access to multiple accounts.
- Never log in to secure accounts on an unsecure public WIFI
Of course, there are always some unfortunate cases in which a customer – or the criminal targeting them – slips through the cracks, and at the often high-pressure festive period some may find themselves victims of fraud.
In fact, just last month, Experian revealed that UK identity fraud rates rose by 22% year-on-year in 2023, with fraud attempts often intensifying around November and December.
Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud has become the biggest risk to British consumers, costing UK households around £239m, prompting the Payments Service Regulator (PSR) to introduce a new reimbursement policy this week.
- If a consumer becomes a victim of fraud, all is not lost, however, according to Castro. He outlined five things people can do if they find themselves on the receiving end of fraudulent criminals.
- Check your free statutory credit report, with all three credit reference agencies. You can then review all information that does not belong to you.
- Contact any relevant companies to inform them of the fraudulent information.
- Ask Experian, or a credit reference agency, to dispute the fraudulent information with all relevant companies. A notice of dispute will also be added to the fraudulent information.
- Add a password to your credit report, called a ‘notice of correction password’, to help prevent future fraud.
- Add self-registration details with Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service.
- Contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.
“We’ve been highlighting the risks of fraud during the festive season for both businesses and consumers,” he concluded.
“Our ‘Santa gets scammed’ video has been featured on all our social channels since November, aiming to raise awareness in a humorous way. There are several more steps people can take to ensure they’re at less risk of identity fraud.”