A surge in fraudulent applications for current accounts at banks has been recorded by credit-reference agency Experian, as cyber criminals use more sophisticated methods in an attempt to conceal their identities, it claims.
In a new report, the organisation said that “large-scale targeted fraud attacks” had increased significantly, and that fraudulent applications had almost doubled, from 81 in every 10,000 during the first quarter of 2015, to 151 in every 10,000 applications by the end of the second quarter.
Experian claimed that the majority of these attacks relied heavily on identity theft. In the first quarter of the year, fewer than half (49 per cent) of all current account fraud was attributable to identity theft, but this had risen to 69 per cent by the second quarter.
Data is obtainable in a number of ways for these fraudsters, such as hacking databases for personal information, using phishing scams on e-mail, implementing malware on corporate systems, or even buying the data on the so-called darknet.
Nick Mothershaw, UK and Ireland director of identity and fraud at Experian, said that the surge in fraud is “indicative of a widespread organised attack on financial service providers”.
He emphasised that the figures released could be seen in a positive light, as the attempted frauds had been detected and prevented. But he warned that it showed the “fervour with which fraudsters are targeting current accounts and the dangers for both the individuals whose identities are stolen and the organisations trying to protect them”.
Despite the growth in current account fraud, there had been a decrease in the rate of fraudulent mortgage applications from 83 in the first quarter of 2015 to 70 in the second quarter.