Figures show identity theft is still prevalent

UK consumers are individually losing hundreds of pounds each year to fraudsters. Businesses which operate online retail arms remain at significant risk of becoming the tools used by criminals to unknowingly exploit consumers.

New research by VeriSign has found that around 11 per cent of UK consumers who shopped online over the last 12 months were subject to identity theft and related fraud.

Each affected consumer lost an average of 352 and this is being felt by businesses and financial organisations around the country, with 12 per cent of the innocent still awaiting the return of the lost funds.

One of the more worrying figures revealed in the Online Fraud Barometer study shows that a number of people are having their data stolen, but then seeing no signs of fraud in the short term. This could suggest that their data has been used in much more elaborate schemes to create a completely new identities from multiple component sources.

VeriSign’s Phil D’Angio said that sales of personal data on the illegal markets are on the increase and also revealed that social networking sites were allowing criminals to gather private information with relative ease.

Mr D’Angio spoke out in support of businesses, saying that in most cases a clearer idea as to the kinds of threats posed by online fraud was present. Consequently many firms are better equipped to prevent data loss and identity theft.

Experts believe that anti-fraud measures that are being put in place by those involved in e-commerce, both in the retail and financial sectors, are having a demonstrable impact on the number of fraud cases occurring annually. However, Mr D’Angio said that there was still some way to go before complete safety could be assured for those shopping online.

Businesses rely on the confidence and trust of the consumer in order to make sales online and experts hope that the stabilisation of the fraud figures will eventually lead to a downturn as the visibility of recognisable security standards for online shopping grows and the fallibility of these systems is reduced.

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