Self-employed people who serve as directors of their own companies have been warned that they may be at an increased risk of being targeted by identity fraudsters.
A new report from UK fraud prevention service Cifas and information solutions provider LexisNexis Risk Solutions has indicated that company directors are one of the most at-risk groups for identity fraud in the country at present.
Many freelancers and contractors choose to manage their operations by setting up a limited company or personal service company, but the new research shows that this can make them a more tempting target for fraudsters. Nearly 19 per cent of identity fraud victims are company directors, despite this group comprising less than nine per cent of the population.
Often, criminals that target directors attempt to obtain credit files as a precursor to committing identity fraud, with London and the south-east named as the regions where this threat is most pronounced.
The report also showed that 17 per cent of director-level victims were targeted by impersonation fraudsters more than once across the three-and-a-half year period assessed, as well as indicating that company directors who fell victim to fraud were likely to be younger than other groups who were impersonated.
Given that the research indicated that identity fraud is at an all-time high, this shows the importance of self-employed people taking proper precautions to protect themselves. These may include keeping a close eye on credit files, limiting what personal info is available in the public domain, and shredding financial documents before throwing them away.
Lady Barbara Judge, chair of Cifas, said: “With almost one in every two crimes a fraud or cybercrime, company directors are increasingly aware of the need to have the right systems and processes in place to protect their staff and customers from this growing threat.
“This research reveals that they themselves are at increased risk of identity fraud in comparison to the rest of the UK.”