Identity theft is fast becoming the dominant area of fraud in the UK: new figures from UK fraud prevention service CIFAS report that identity fraud has risen by 25 percent over the last few years.
Commenting on the findings, CIFAS Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: "What these figures show is that identity fraud continues to be the most serious fraud threat and that the first quarter of the year has been a very profitable one for organised identity theft criminals. Our data is just the tip of the iceberg - more needs to be done to identify the true scale of fraud in the UK and educate individuals about the dangers and the steps that can be taken to protect themselves."
A primary cause of this wave of identity fraud is the plethora of data stored and shared online since the advent of the digital age. In the first quarter of 2015, over 80% of identity fraud was attempted or perpetrated online. "The increase in fraud, and in particular identity theft, comes as no surprise as we continue to become reliant on the digital world," said Alan Batey, digital forensic consultant, Security Risk Management Ltd.
Are you worthy of your consumers' trust?
For businesses entrusted with consumers' personal data, maintaining strong lines of defence against identity fraud has never been more critical. Protecting private data is a key component of the trust between consumer and business, and once lost, that trust can be extremely difficult to regain. In the last few months, almost half a million customers have abandoned TalkTalk since their highly publicised data breach late last year.
Further, small businesses may be most at risk. "In a large business there is typically a well-defined set of people who have responsibility for security of computers and information assets. In small to medium businesses, that activity is not as clearly well defined," says Lawrence R. Rogers, a senior member of the technical staff at the CERT Program of the Software Engineering Institute, part of Carnegie Mellon University.
Creating and maintaining a secure online environment is of utmost importance for any business. Clear guidelines for online behaviour and regular staff training are essential to prevent the sort of simple mistakes that can lead to catastrophe. Data encryption or new technology such as biometrics could also prove vital. The sooner a potential data breach is spotted, the less damage it is likely to do, so ensure that staff are alert to any warning signs of attack or data breaches.
DeltaNet can help you prevent data breaches by training staff in data protection best practice. As well as detailed courses covering data protection and information security, we provide microlearning modules and immersive, behaviour-focused courses to ensure training transfers to the workplace. Best of all, our Compliance Essentials Suite includes all of these resources and more so you can tailor your training approach to your organisation. Contact us now to take a look.