Consumers and businesses are being warned to expect a surge in fraudulent activity and cybercrime ahead of Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season.
Experian analysis of data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service reveals credit card application fraud is set to peak over the period, with criminals looking to take advantage of an increase in genuine applications to attempt to access credit, with stolen or illegally obtained personal details.
The fraud rate for credit card applications increased by 43% in the last three months, a trend predicted to peak in November and December.
The rate rose by 107% between December 2016 and December 2020, representative of the increasing severity of the problem.
The significant increase in ecommerce in recent years – a trend fast-tracked by the Covid-19 pandemic – means the need for businesses to be able to quickly confirm that a customer’s identity and details are genuine has never been greater.
Using a sophisticated combination of new technologies and solutions, fraud teams are becoming more successful at identifying actual fraud attempts which, in part, explains the rise in rates seen in the analysis.
Meanwhile, consumers should be aware of how they can best protect their personal details and information when shopping online. Checking their credit report can help identify if someone has had their details used to apply for a financial product fraudulently.
Eduardo Castro, Head of Identity and Fraud Experian UK&I, said: “The UK is experiencing a severe wave of fraud which shows no signs of abating and it is highly likely, as many of us head online to do Christmas shopping, that the trend will be even more pronounced over the next month.
“The risk is to both businesses and consumers. With such a volume of digital transactions being carried out, it’s critical organisations can confirm their customers’ information is legitimate as frictionlessly as possible, while consumers should do all they can to protect their information online.”