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Young people are a growing target for identity theft cases, which have reached record levels in 2016, fraud prevention organisation Cifas says.

Almost 25,000 victims of fraud were aged under 30, with the number of under-21s defrauded rising by a third.

The statistics, from 277 banks and businesses, show almost 173,000 recorded frauds in 2016 – the highest level since records began 13 years ago.

Cifas says people must be more vigilant about protecting their personal data.

The 172,919 incidents of identity fraud last year represents 53.3% of all fraud recorded by Cifas, of which 88% occurred online.

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The number of under-21s being defrauded rose from 1,343 in 2015 to 1,803 in 2016.

Cifas deputy chief executive Mike Haley said better education around fraud and financial crime was needed.

“With nine out of 10 identity frauds committed online and with all age groups at risk, we are urging everyone to make it more difficult for fraudsters to abuse their identity.

“We all remember to protect our possessions through locking our house or flat or car but we don’t take the same care to protect our most important asset – our identities.”

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City of London Police Commander Chris Greany, who is national co-ordinator for economic crime, said: “With close to half of all crime now either fraud or cyber crime we all need to make sure we protect our identity.

“Identity fraud is the key to unlocking your valuables. Things like weak passwords or not updating your software are the same as leaving a window or door unlocked.”

Source: BBC

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