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Tech-literate most vulnerable to ID theft, says Experian

4th August 2016 • Notebook

Tech-savvy consumers are much more likely to be victims of ID fraud compared to other, less technologically-literate users, according to new research from Experian.

The study found that digitally-savvy consumers – those who spend the most time on mobile devices and social networks – made up almost a quarter (23%) of all ID fraud victims in 2015, even though they make up just 7.7% of the population.

This group saw the biggest jump in ID theft, rising by 16.7% over the previous 12 months. Surprisingly, the next biggest rise was among older and retired households, predominantly living in rural areas, who saw a 15.4% increase in ID fraud year-on-year.

The figures show the danger of making assumptions about consumers’ understanding of, and preparedness against online risks, warned Nick Mothershaw, fraud expert at Experian.

“Those who embrace technology most enthusiastically make tempting targets for ID fraudsters, even though one might assume that tech-savvy users would be more aware of security risks and safeguards,” he said.

“With ID fraud stubbornly high in general – and significantly increased among several of the groups we’ve identified – more education is clearly needed if we are to fight back effectively against the criminals. Businesses have an important part to play here: by knowing which groups suffer most from fraud, they can target at-risk customers with relevant advice and education on staying safe.”

The ID Theft report follows Experian’s recent in-depth analysis into people’s attitudes and use of technology and data in Britain, which revealed a three tier digital divide. The study grouped the population into 11 different categories of people, and found that 7.5 million Britons are being left behind by the technology revolution.

“Combating fraud is the responsibility of everyone, but it makes good business sense too,” continued Mothershaw. “Aside from the fact that fraud cost the UK economy almost £200 billion a year, by engaging and helping to protect their customers, businesses can foster even higher levels of loyalty to their brand and help to prevent them becoming victims.

“We all have a responsibility to help protect our identities online. By sharing this research, we hope to make people think twice about how well their information is protected and encourage businesses and government organisations to support those people most in need.”

About the research

The research was conducted using Mosaic Digital, a consumer classification technology which enables Experian to build consumer profiles or “personas”. Mosaic Digital uses more than 400 data points, from demographics to finances, favourite media channels to preferred technology, to create accurate audience segments.

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