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A third of people in the UK share sensitive documents unprotected online, according to new research. The research, conducted by identity verification platform IDnow, also suggests that scammers are now using AI to bypass identity checks online. 

IDnow says that those between the ages of 18 and 24 are most at risk, while nearly half (48%) of young people report risking identity theft by sharing personal documents across less secure channels like messaging apps, email, and social media. The over 50s, by contrast, seem to be more weary about what data they share online, with only 21% reporting to have shared their ID through risky channels.

More concerningly, 45% of those surveyed say that they were aware that sending scans and images of ID documents over these channels were a security risk. Yet, despite knowing that transferring information in that way posed a cybersecurity risk, a third (33%) of Brits transferred their data in that fashion anyway. 

But the data also shows that Brits weren’t too well-equipped about other cybersecurity issues and recent technological advancements. A third of survey respondents, for instance, were unaware of what deepfakes were and the security/misinformation risk that they pose.

A worrying trend

In a statement to ThisisMoney, IDnow co-founder and chief technology and security officer Armin Bauer said that “deepfakes are used to break into systems that require you to identify yourself.”

“Fraudsters typically try to generate a completely new person that doesn’t actually exist, or they use a stolen ID card and generate [a deepfake] of the person that it belongs to.”

Meanwhile, IDnow document and fraud director Lovro Persen added: “Worryingly, this research suggests that the UK public is not as concerned, or aware as they should be of the risks associated with such digitally-generated images or videos.The extraordinary leaps in AI technology mean it’s now almost too easy for a fraudster to carry out financial crimes. Consumers shouldn’t make it even easier for fraudsters though.”

“Our advice is always to think twice before sending a scan or photo of your driving licence or passport into the digital ether via unencrypted channels, such as social media or email.”

Featured Image: Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash 

Charlotte Colombo

Freelance Journalist

Charlotte Colombo is a freelance journalist with bylines in Metro.co.uk, Radio Times, The Independent, Daily Dot, Glamour, Stylist, and VICE among others. She most recently worked as a Staff Writer for entertainment outlet The Digital Fix for two years and, prior to that, worked with Business Insider and Dexerto on their digital culture desks. She’s also appeared on BBC Radio 5 and The Guardian podcast to share her expertise on technology, influencers, and niche internet subcultures.

She holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has been freelancing for three years. She has a wide range of specialties including technology, digital culture, entertainment, lifestyle, and neurodiversity.’

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