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Men, 46, most likely fraud victims, says Cifas

Shredded bank statement
Image caption ID theft sees fraudsters impersonate victims to steal money

Sophisticated identity theft "on an industrial scale" is on the rise with a 46-year-old man the most likely victim, a new report says.

Recorded fraud was up by 25% last year compared with 2013, according to fraud prevention service Cifas.

ID fraud accounted for 41% of all fraud. Digitally-savvy young adults were increasingly becoming targets.

Fraud hotspots were found in London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, Cifas found.

'Predatory'

The annual Fraudscape report from Cifas, drawn from data from its members, found that young people, regularly using technology and with access to some financial products for the first time, were increasingly at risk from ID fraud.

In these cases, fraudsters impersonate their victims to create accounts or apply for loans in order to steal money. These have replaced the type of fraud in which con-artists trick their way into existing accounts, as security has improved.

"The frauds we are recording point to increasingly sophisticated, predatory and organised criminals. This is crime at an industrial scale," said Simon Dukes, Cifas chief executive.

Cifas claimed that men were 1.7 times more likely than women to have their identities stolen.

Nick Mothershaw, of credit reference agency Experian, said: "The figures released today emphasise just how much of a threat fraud still is to lenders and their customers, especially as more people apply for financial products across multiple channels, including online and mobile."

In October, Commander Steve Head, of the City of London Police, told the BBC that there were not enough police officers tackling the crime.

Specialist fraud officers have been outstripped by the rising caseload, a BBC investigation found.

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