Bank account application fraud rising

Loan application
Image caption Fraudulent applications come often from people who are "financially stressed".

More people appear to be lying about their finances when trying to open new bank accounts, according to credit checking firm Experian.

It says in the first three months of this year, about 0.44% of all attempts to open an account were fraudulent.

This was 23% more than in the last three months of 2011 and the highest rate in the past three years.

Experian operates the system that runs fraud prevention checks for banks and other financial services firms.

Across financial services generally, 0.19% of applications were found to be fraudulent, including insurance and credit cards.

Experian said the fraudulent attempts to open a current account were typically carried out by people who were "financially stressed".

For instance, they had been hiding parts of their financial histories, such as previous failures to repay loans on time.

Nick Mothershaw of Experian blamed "individuals providing false information attempting to open new accounts or obtain overdrafts or making payments they knowingly couldn't afford".

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