Fraudsters are increasingly using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a “hunting ground” for personal information, leading to huge rise in identity theft, according to a new report.
The number of victims of identity theft rose by 57pc last year, Cifas, the fraud prevention service, said. There were more than 148,000 victims in the UK in 2015, compared with almost 94,500 in 2014.
Identity fraud happens when a criminal pretends to be an innocent individual in order to take out a financial product, such as a loan or credit card, in their name.
Victims often do not realise they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or until they have a problem with their credit rating.
Fraudsters often trawl social media sites to find personal information, such as your name, date of birth, address and name of your bank.
They will gather the information in a number of ways, including hacking if a company that holds information about you doesn’t protect its data properly. They will also use social media to “put the pieces of someone’s identity together”, the report said.