Recession drives surge in identity fraud

ID theft: Big increase in victims
ID theft: Big increase in victims

Surges in the number of victims of impersonation during the first half of 2009 have been called “truly alarming” by CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service. Its members recorded over 52,000 victims in the first six months of the year, a rise of 43 per cent compared to the same period in 2008.

“The traditional focus on the ways in which fraudsters operate draws attention away from the number of fraud victims being recorded, and these figures surely underline the very real human cost of fraud in the recession,” says Richard Hurley, CIFAS communications manager.

Identity fraud rose by 74 percent overall, including both impersonation and the creation of fictitious identities. CIFAS has seen a return to “old school” methods, such as forged or altered UK passports to support fraudulent applications, alongside new methods.

Fraud trends typically reflect the economic cycle. However, CIFAS has seen a 25 per cent fall in application fraud where false information is used in applications for finance, insurance or products. Sharing of fraud data by the services’ members has also reduced the losses experienced by 11 per cent.

“Talk of an economic recovery may be premature but there is some good news. While fraud and fraudsters continue to wreak havoc on businesses and consumers alike, it is very reassuring to see that fraud departments are doing an excellent job in a period of unprecedented activity, accurately identifying frauds and preventing further losses,” says Hurley.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here