Page 5: Changes in the technological environment
The credit industry has made huge technological advances. Financial products and services can now be bought online. This is known as e-commerce and is now an important part of the global economy. The boom in e-commerce has meant that Experian has had to introduce new technologies. Ordering a credit report is now simpler and quicker than ever. Consumer education also has to evolve with technology. Experian's website contains lots of information about credit reports and gives consumers online answers to their questions. The boom in e-commerce has led to an increase in identity fraud. Many consumers are wary of inputting their personal details on the Internet and are worried about becoming a victim of this crime. Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity in criminal activity, to obtain goods or services by deception.
There were around 55,000 reported victims of identity fraud last year and the consumer organisation Which? revealed that 1 in 4 consumers had either been affected by this crime or knew someone who had been. People who are affected by identity fraud often spend many hours sorting out the muddle left by a fraudster and usually find it very difficult to get credit in the meantime. Fraudsters often find the information they need by raiding rubbish bins. Experian has researched and published reports on how easy it is for fraudsters to get information this way. Experian is one of the leading voices in the campaign to warn consumers about the dangers of identity fraud and does a lot to help people protect their identities.
Experian's consumer education programme tells consumers about the threat of identity fraud from bin raiding and from Internet fraudsters. Advising consumers how to avoid becoming a victim of this crime is important. Experian has a Victims of Fraud team of experts who help people sort out the mess left by a fraudster. In 2003, Experian launched its CreditExpert credit report monitoring service. This product was developed to offer consumers more protection against fraud. CreditExpert gives consumers unlimited online access to their credit reports and notifies them by text or e-mail when major changes take place. This means they know very quickly if a fraudster tries to use their details to get credit.