8.6 million people in the UK have used fake, fraudulent or someone else’s identity to gain access to goods, services or credit
LONDON - 25 January 2023: 8.6 million people in the UK* have used fake, fraudulent or someone else’s identity in person or online to gain access to goods, services or credit, according to independent research by GBG, the digital identity experts.
The findings have been released following the return to Parliament of the delayed Online Safety Bill, a new set of laws to protect children and adults online, including the enforcement of age limits and age-checking measures to help prevent children from accessing harmful and age-inappropriate content.
GBG’s research asked 2,000 UK consumers if they have ever used fake, fraudulent or someone else’s identity, including claiming they are older than they really are to access websites, using fake ID and giving false information such as a fake address.
Gus Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer, EMEA at GBG, said: “The use of fake, fraudulent or someone else’s identity is not a harmless crime, it is illegal and hugely damaging to individuals and the economy. Underage kids are getting access to gambling, alcohol and porn sites, and also running up huge debts without fully understanding the consequences and, very often at the expense of their parents. There has been an increase in crimes of convenience as a result of the cost-of-living crisis with people using false information and fraudulent identities to apply for goods, credit and services. Criminals are also taking advantage of the economic slowdown to increasingly scam people by, stealing information and the identities of unsuspecting people, especially those in financial difficulty. More sophisticated fraud such as synthetic identity fraud is also on the increase – imported from the US.
“With the majority of identity fraud taking place online, social media platforms and businesses are putting themselves at huge risk of being closed down, fined as well as incurring financial and reputational damage, if they don’t have appropriate identity verification and fraud measures in place. Shockingly, not enough businesses are taking this risk seriously and are not sufficiently protecting themselves or keeping young people and their customers safe.”
The research by GBG also found 94% of business leaders** confirmed that businesses are cutting corners and opening the door to identity fraud by not having sufficient measures in place to check and verify identities online. 87% of business leaders confirmed that identity fraud costs are passed onto consumers in the form of increased prices with UK consumers.
Gus Tomlinson concludes: “The technology is here, and with the introduction of the Online Safety Bill and more robust regulation, there is no excuse for businesses not to have identity verification checks in place. The use of fake, fraudulent or someone else’s identity is not a victimless crime, and people need to be much more aware and protective of their own identity to ensure it doesn’t get into unsafe or fraudulent hands.”
Notes to editor
*Based on a population of 54,098,971 x 16+year olds in the UK (ONS data).
**Business leaders surveyed were C-suite chief security officers (CSO) and chief information security officers (CISO).
About the research
The independent research commissioned by GBG and undertaken by Censuswide with 2,000 general consumers and 126 CIO and CISOs in the UK between 21.09.22-23.09.22. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.
GBG is the leading expert in global digital identity. We combine our powerful technology, the most accurate data coverage and our talented team to deliver award-winning location intelligence, identity verification and fraud prevention solutions. With over 30 years’ experience, we bring together a team of over 1,250 dedicated experts with local industry insight from around the world to make it easy for businesses to identify and verify customers and locations, protecting everyone, everywhere from fraud. Learn more at www.gbgplc.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter