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The stark reality of identity fraud

Identity fraud costs the UK £3.3 billion per year. Aside from recovering the tangible losses, research suggests the emotional fall out of ID fraud on victims could amount to an even greater loss.

Fellowes, makers of the world’s toughest shredders, has learned from partnering and working with Professor Mark Button from the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies that while the average loss per person to identity fraud in the UK is £1,203, a recent report suggests a significant number of fraud victims have reported emotional and physical distress in the aftermath of crimes being committed.

But it’s not just the financial loss that may have an impact. For small businesses, the impact of fraud can threaten its very existence, with loss of earnings due to time taken to deal with the situation. Damage to the business’s reputation can sometimes be irrecoverable.

Most victims can spend up to 48 hours trying to rectify the situation, which can sometimes be spread out over a number of days or even weeks. This directly affects those who may be self-employed, as fraud can result in a loss of employment or, at the very least, a loss of business.

Stress, anxiety, anger and embarrassment leading to skin conditions and severe mental health problems are just some of the side effects victims of identity fraud have experienced, according to a recent study by Professor Mark Button published in Security Journal.

And yet despite more than 8% of the entire UK population having been a victim of identity fraud during the last year, a quarter of us still do not follow some of the basic precautions to reduce the risk of ID fraud, from shredding papers containing personal and sensitive information to checking statements for unusual transactions.