After the recent furore surrounding the most widespread computer hack crisis in history, UK consumers are being urged to remain alert to the threat of online fraud.
Following the revelation that over 15 million British users of internet auction site eBay had been hacked, victims have been warned that they could now fall prey to fraudulent mortgage or loan transactions.
eBay warned customers that they would need to change their passwords after personal details including names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, email addresses and passwords had been seized by hackers. The implications for the approximated 223 million account holders worldwide are severe, as they are now left susceptible to identity fraud.
Concerns are now mounting within the personal finance sector, as the heightened risk of identity fraud could result in an influx of fraudulent bank accounts and loan applications.
It is expected that the unsecured loans and payday markets will be hit the hardest, but any companies that deal with personal details are being encouraged to remain mindful of the risks and maintain thorough inspections of applications over the coming months.
Commenting on the threat of hacking, Tim Wheeldon, Joint Managing Director of Fluent Money, said: “The threat of being hacked is a persistent concern for businesses and consumers that deal with online processes, but is also perhaps accepted as one of the casualties of a more technologically advanced world.
“However, despite the pressure on financial services to remain in step with increasingly tech-savvy customers, it is imperative that brokers and lenders continue to personally identify customers through traditional measures, such as requesting identity documents such as passport or photo ID, which are much harder for fraudsters to obtain.
“We can still invest in online tools that make our services more streamlined for customers, but requesting physical, legitimate documents before processing loan applications remain an absolute necessity.
“Secured lending companies are not impervious to fraudulent claims, but by remaining alert to online threats and requesting legitimate ID documents, the overall sector is better equipped for avoiding potentially damaging scams.”