Social Networks

Hackers Prefer to Steal Identity of Victims Aged 30 Years or Less, UK Study Shows

People in the UK aged 30 years and under are the most targeted by hackers for identity fraud, with a 52% rise in victims last year, Cifas said in a report published today. In terms of regions, Manchester and London were reported as top cities for ID theft in 2015.

Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead, Simon Dukes, Cifas Chief Executive said. Society, government and industry all have a role in preventing fraud, however our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need.

According to their research, adults aged 18-24 years are less likely to install a software security solution on their mobile devices, as 50% are confident they would never fall victim to online scams. The survey shows as little as 34% had been taught in school about online security and vulnerabilities they would be exposed to.

With 86% of identity frauds in 2015 committed online, Cifas says young people are the most exposed to losing personal data such as their name, date of birth, address and bank account info also through social media.

The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves, Dukes added. We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share. Social media is fantastic and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.

Cifas released a video experiment to show viewers how easy it is to steal people’s identities using social media. Data to Go was filmed in a coffee shop in London and can be watched online.

As a result of the research by Cifas, law enforcement also spoke out to warn citizens about the risks they expose themselves to online.

We have known for some time that identity fraud has become the engine that drives much of today’s criminality and so it is vitally important that people keep their personal information safe and secure, said Commander Chris Greany, City of London Police and national coordinator for economic crime. In the fight against fraud, education is key and it’s great that Cifas and its members are taking identity fraud seriously and working together to raise awareness of how the issue is now increasingly affecting young people through the launch of this film.

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.