Online ID OD: Illegal Web Trade in Personal Information Soars
LONDON, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
Experian CreditExpert’s identity web monitoring service reveals more than 12
million pieces of personal information traded online globally between January and April
More than 12 million pieces of personal information were illegally traded online by
identity fraudsters in the first four months of 2012, new figures from Experian
CreditExpert reveal. Bespoke research* from Experian CreditExpert’s web monitoring service
- which helps people to quickly detect ID theft – shows that the first four months of 2012
have already outstripped the entire of 2010 when 9.5million pieces of personal information
were illegally traded. Approximately 90% of the illegally traded data during January -
April this year consisted of password and login combinations. This dramatic surge is
thought to be in part due to consumers having a spiralling number of online accounts.
Experian CreditExpert’s new web monitoring service continuously monitors the web on
behalf of its customers – to immediately detect the theft, loss or disclosure of vital
personal and financial information.
Additional consumer research commissioned by Experian CreditExpert reveals that the
average Briton now has 26 different online accounts with 25-34-year olds being the most
prolific, with no fewer than 40.
The number of online accounts is set to grow further, with nearly one in five of
Britons (17 per cent) signing up to six or more new accounts every month, making us more
vulnerable to the possibility of having our personal password and login details stolen.
Despite this, Britons use an average of just five different passwords to keep their
details safe, with a quarter (24 per cent) using a single password for the majority of
profiles, and one in 25 (four per cent) sticking with the same login details for all their
In addition, many people are potentially putting themselves further at risk by no
longer using many of their accounts, resulting in passwords not being changed regularly.
In fact, two thirds of adults (66 per cent) admit to having defunct profiles that hold
valuable personal and financial information, including social network profiles (26 per
cent), email addresses (18 per cent) and shopping accounts (21 per cent).
Peter Turner, Managing Director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and Ireland,
commented: “The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally
traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable
information, such as address books and related accounts.
“Using a different password for each account will minimise risks, but if password
information is stolen from a website, all accounts using the same details will be
compromised, and this information can spread among fraudsters rapidly.
“Users need to protect themselves with a service like CreditExpert’s web monitoring,
which will alert them by text or email at the first signs that their details have been
The threat of identity fraud is certainly real, with some two million people having
fallen victim.The consequences are often serious, many victims having debts run up in
their name (nine per cent)
The researchalso found that others have been refused loans or credit cards (14 per
cent) or turned down for mobile phone contracts (seven per cent) – often the first that a
victim knows of their identity having been stolen.
As a solution, as well as using Experian CreditExpert’s new web monitoring service,
people are advised to keep a close eye on their personal information and on their credit
report for any signs of unusual activity.
KEEPING YOUR ACCOUNTS SECURE
1. Avoid the obvious
According to Experian CreditExpert research, 20 per cent of us use the name of a pet
as our password. Avoid using memorable words like these, especially those that may be on
your profile or used elsewhere in your account details, such a security question.
2. Find the right length
Try to keep passwords at least eight characters in length – 10 or more is preferable.
The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.
3. Mix it up
Try to include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Rather
than words, use the initial letter of a memorable sentence. “I need to choose a new
password right now” could become “In2c@nPrN”.
4. Find a system
Having a unique password for all your accounts can be daunting, but a good approach
can be to base passwords on lyrics of your favourite songs or lines from films, giving a
sequence of passwords that you can work through.
5. Keep an eye on your credit report
CreditExpert offers you a free credit report
[http://www.creditexpert.co.uk/free-credit-report.aspx ] for 30 days. Highlighting the
history of all your credit accounts and will highlight any irregularities such as people
applying for loans or cards in your name. This is often the first way that you will know
your details have been leaked.
Notes to editors:
*Two sets of research were conducted:
- External consumer research conducted by Opinion Matters among a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults in June 2012. - Internal research carried out by Experian CreditExpert.
Experian CreditExpert’s web monitoring system which scans forums where personal
information is traded detected that 12 million pieces of data were traded illegally
1) External consumer research conducted by Opinion Matters among a representative
sample of 2,000 UK adults in June 2012.
2) The UK adult population is 48,091,600 (ONS). Fifteen per cent have had their
personal details leaked online or suspect they have, of whom 28 per cent have been victims
of identity fraud. Therefore: 48,091,600 x 0.15 x 0.28 = 2,019,847
Key benefits of Experian CreditExpert membership:
– Experian is the UK’s most trusted credit reference agency
– Experian is the credit expert with more than 30 years of experience
– Free 30-day trial of CreditExpert*(*New customers only. Monthly fee after trial
– Unlimited access to your Experian Credit Score
– Weekly alerts of changes to your credit report
– 24/7 web monitoring service
– Access to an award-winning, UK-based customer services team
– Identity Protection Insurance of up to GBP75,000** (**terms and conditions apply)
– Expert advice and tools to help improve your credit rating
– Intelligent price matching to credit products suited to your credit history
– Consumers can apply directly from the website: http://www.creditexpert.co.uk
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and
analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit
risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also
helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the
FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion.
Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate
headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK;
California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com
For more information, please contact Bell Pottinger Consumer PR:
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SOURCE Credit Expert