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Victims of Identity Theft up By a Third

New figures suggest the number of people falling victim to identity theft in the UK has risen by almost a third.

According to research, criminals are increasingly using internet forums to buy and sell data; using information to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, and commit fraud in other people's names.

Cifas, the fraud prevention survey, said the number of victims rose by 31% to 32,058 in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.

Cifas said more than 80% of identity theft in the first three months of this year was attempted or perpetrated online.

The research showed that criminals mainly use people's identities to set up new credit cards and bank accounts, which accounted for 41% and 27% of all identity theft cases respectively.

The average age for both male and female identity theft was 46 years old.

Cifas did however warn that the 21-30 age group continue to be increasingly targeted - with the number of victims in that age bracket up 26% from 2014.

Chief executive of due diligence company C6 intelligence, Mr Innes, said that identity theft can be "traumatising" for victims.

He said: "You're going to be spending an awful lot of time getting the money back.

"You may still be liable and there have been many cases where people have still had to pay bills, even though it has had nothing to do with them in the first place... The mental anguish is quite severe."

The Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday that under new legislation, officers across the UK can now arrest people who supply specialist printing equipment or materials, such as identity card printers, printer ribbons, embossers and hot foil presses.

The Met said organised criminals use printers costing around £1000 to create convincing passports, driver's licenses and bank cards.

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