VIDEO: Police issue online identity theft warning

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Young people are being warned to be careful with their personal information after a rise in identity theft.

Derbyshire Constabulary is supporting a nationwide campaign after new figures show how young people are increasingly falling victim to identity fraud.

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing a 52 per cent rise in the number of young identity fraud victims across the UK.

In 2015, just under 23,959 people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.

The figures were published at the same time a new short film, Data to Go, is launched online to raise awareness of this type of fraud.

Filmed in a coffee shop in March this year, the film uses hidden cameras to capture baffled reactions from people caught in a stunt where their personal data, all found on public websites, is revealed to them live on a coffee cup.

Identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often victims do not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters usually have access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with. Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, including through hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together.

People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud but with growing numbers of young people falling victim, Cifas is calling for better education around fraud and financial crime.

Chief executive Simon Dukes from Cifas said: “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites - they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves.”

Detective Inspector Rob King of the Derbyshire Constabulary Economic Crime Unit added: “Fraudsters are increasingly heading online to steal people’s identity and commit crime, so it is vital that residents take steps to ensure that their personal information is kept safe and secure.”

For further information and advice, visit the Stamp out Fraud webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud