Company directors urged to beware of perils of identity fraud

Company directors are particularly at risk from identity fraudsters, accounting for nearly one in five victims, according to analysis.

Nearly 19% of identity fraud victims are company directors, despite this sector accounting for less than 9% of the UK population, a report released by fraud prevention service Cifas and LexisNexis Risk Solutions found.

The report also found company directors who fell victim to fraud were likely to be younger than many other people who were impersonated.

Nearly a third (28%) of director-level fraud victims were aged in their 30s.

The report said this suggests fraudsters may be finding greater success with younger generations who are likely to have a typically larger "digital footprint", with more information about them being held online.

Lady Barbara Judge, chair of Cifas, said: "There will always be more publicly available information about you if you run your own business compared to other individuals.

"I however would encourage company directors to do as much as possible to separate their personal and company personas.

"Limit the personal information you share on social media and professional networking sites, and proactively check your credit file and your accounts.

"The quicker you spot that your details have been used fraudulently, the easier it will be to limit the damage caused."

Steve Arnison, commercial director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said: "Companies can prioritise their focus on preventing personal data breaches but also assess patterns and similarities in fraud cases to identify threats."

Here are some tips from Cifas and LexisNexis Risk Solutions to help company directors protect themselves against fraud:

:: Keep a close eye for anything suspicious on your credit file.

Fraudsters will often access a victim's credit file first to see if it is an identity worth using.

By reviewing yours regularly, you can spot any suspicious activity before it is too late.

:: Think about your digital footprint.

Make life more difficult for fraudsters by limiting what personal information is available, including on social media or professional networking sites.

Also, listing a business address rather than home address on public director registers is advisable.

The fewer pieces of the jigsaw a fraudster can get hold of, the harder it will be for them to impersonate.

:: Do not forget about paperwork and post.

Shred all your financial documents before you throw them away and remember to redirect your mail if you change address or move home.

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