According to newly released fraud statistics, the total amount of “fraudulent conduct” reported in 2017 dropped by 6 percent. However, identity fraud is up, according to Cifas’ “The Fraudscape” report. It rose 1 percent last year to 174,523 total cases.

This marks a 125 percent increase over the last decade and is consistent with previous fraud profiles. The report also found that attackers typically leverage the identity of innocent victims, and they use the victim’s actual address to commit fraud in almost 80 percent of cases.

Fraud Statistics Show Rise in Online Scams

The Cifas data indicated that online retail fraud rose 49 percent last year. According to the report, identity fraud “remains a predominantly internet-based offense, with 84 percent of identity fraud occurring through online application channels.”

Account takeover (ATO) fraud is also on the rise, experiencing a 7 percent increase over 2016. A recent Javelin report found that ATO fraud tripled last year, causing more than $5 billion in losses. In addition, the average resolution time for ATO was 16 hours. New account fraud (NAF), meanwhile, rose 70 percent as cybercriminals leveraged personally identifiable information (PII) to create fake credit card and bank accounts.

The Cifas report also noted that actors are increasingly targeting older age groups for ATO fraud using social engineering techniques. These often take the form of phishing emails or over-the-phone “security checks” that ask victims to provide personal information for “verification.” Once attackers have PII in hand, they’re able to either compromise existing accounts or create new ones that may lead to claims of credit fraud or identity theft.

Anonymous Advantage

The report’s authors asserted that the evolution of fraud over the past 20 years has led to a situation where “offenders have the ability to commit their crime of choice without being seen or heard.” One law enforcement officer who was interviewed about the challenges of tackling online, organized crime group (OCG) fraud quipped that the police “are chasing Formula 1 cars with tricycles.”

With offenders now able to commit identity theft, ATO and NAF at a distance, the Cifas report pointed to a need for law enforcement to “consolidate, share and act upon information and data.” This is reflected in one of the report’s positive fraud statistics: Through noncompetitive data sharing, organizations were able to prevent roughly $1.85 billion in fraud losses last year.

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