Smartphone Users Leaving Themselves Open to ID Fraud

According to a qualitative study of 5,507 adult consumers aged 18+ across Europe carried out by Dynamic Markets between June and August 2012, UK consumers are the most likely in Europe to become victims of ID fraud.

Moreover, new research from ID fraud specialist Equifax has revealed one of the key ways that Brits are putting themselves at risk. A third of respondents to Equifax research conducted at the end of September 2012, said that they stay logged in to smartphone apps, and 42 per cent fail to clear their browser history. Equifax notes that both activities could make personal information, including bank details, easy to access if these devices are lost or stolen.

The company commissioned a survey of 3,000 UK consumers on their attitudes to ID protection on mobile devices. The survey was carried out in September 2012.
As part of National Identity Fraud Prevention month, which started on Monday, 1 October, Equifax is campaigning to reduce the risk of fraud to consumers, urging a change in attitudes to protect personal information.

“Our research shows that people in the UK are making it far too easy for ID fraudsters, with many failing to log out of internet banking and one in five storing passwords, PINs or bank account or credit card details on their smartphones,” said Neil Munroe, external affairs director for Equifax, and chair of the Identity Fraud Communications Awareness Group (IFCAG).  “A third of people we surveyed said they don’t log out of social media or internet banking websites on their mobile. With over a quarter of people doing online banking through a mobile device, it’s shocking to discover that 45 per cent don’t password protect their smartphone, leaving all that information available to anyone who can get their hands on it.”

Equifax is also urging consumers to monitor their credit information, particularly as the European research commissioned by Fellowes highlighted that, on average, it takes seven  months for UK consumers to learn that they have been victims of ID theft. 

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days by logging onto, after which a monthly charge of £8.99 is levied. There’s also a free Equifax app for iOS and Android.