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Security

Identity fraud hits 'epidemic levels'

Fraudsters are increasingly using your details to apply for loans and spend your money.

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Scammers are increasingly turning online rather than targeting credit and debit cards.

Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images

Identity theft has reached "epidemic levels" in the UK, as crooks use our details to get loans or buy stuff online.

Fraud prevention service Cifas today revealed 89,000 identity frauds have been recorded in 2017 so far -- a record rise of 5 percent over last year. The number of cases of fraudsters trying to target Brits' bank accounts or plastic cards have fallen, but scammers are now better at finding your details online and using that information to spend your money without your knowledge.

"Be careful who you give your information to," warned Detective Superintendent Glenn Maleary, Head of the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate, in a statement. "Always consider whether it is necessary to part with those details. We urge everyone both at home and at work to ensure that they have the right security settings on all of their devices. Be conscious of identity fraudsters and use our protection advice to help stop them in their tracks."

In the US, the recent 2017 Identity Fraud Study by analysts Javelin Strategy & Research also recorded a record high increase in identity fraud. Fraudsters managed to dupe two million more victims to steal a total of $16 billion.