ID fraud is now costing the UK an estimated £1.7 billion annually, the government has warned.
The figure is a stark increase on the government’s previous £1.3 billion estimate of the cost of ID fraud in the UK three years ago.
The figure is equal to a £35 per person cost, Home Office minister Andy Burnham told the BBC’s Today programme.
ID fraudsters typically compare credit cards and other personal information to gain access to bank accounts or create false documents for use in crime.
The government has previously called on bank’s to make more thorough checks on background information.
Finance experts recommend that all personal documents should be shredded before being thrown out, and that people should use caution when using internet banking.
Mr Burnham said that the figures bolstered the government’s case for compulsory national ID cards, which he claimed would be “a major breakthrough” in security.
“We have all kinds of stand-in documents being called upon as identity documents – birth certificates, utility bills,” he said. “The truth is these do not prove identity.”
All new applications for passports will now require an interview, he added, which will further cut down on opportunities for ID fraud.
“We are doing background checks on people before they get their documentation,” he told Today.
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