I’ve never completely trusted statistics – especially those quoting how many people have had their identities stolen. For one, I’ve never seen a worldwide estimate and with the global reach of the Internet – identity theft and cybercrime have become a “borderless” activity.

Another problem is that businesses are frequently reluctant to fully disclose breaches and many victims never report the crimes, or give up in the “frustrating process” of trying to find somewhere to report it.

Nonetheless some of the trends are scary and security experts in the United Kingdom are predicting we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

Veronique De Freitas of WebUser is reporting:

Experts have warned of a dramatic increase in online ID theft across the UK. Organised criminal gangs are using the internet to steal computer users’ identities, which can be worth more than £85,000, a new study has revealed.

Identity theft experts Garlik claim that ID theft will be worth £4bn by 2010 and will affect 200,000 internet users every year, doubling the amount it currently affects.

Veronique’s story, here.

I’ve seen other stories that “downplay” the amount of organized crime and use of technology involved in credit card fraud and identity theft, but according to Garlik:

“Our study shows organised criminals are responsible for 75 per cent of credit card fraud and are rapidly moving into identity theft. These ‘identity brokers’ harvest data from online sources and use the information to manufacture and steal identities for criminal misuse,” said Tom Ilube, CEO of Garlik.

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