Search Arc Legal Group



As we increasingly live our lives online, most of us freely share an incredible amount of personal data every single day, mainly via the apps we download and the social media networks we subscribe to. If you were to ask the average person on the street, they’re likely to confirm that they’re concerned about their data privacy, yet data-gathering companies like Facebook continue to thrive, this is what researchers call the ‘privacy paradox, and it leaves us vulnerable to those seeking to steal our identity for their own gains.

In August this year, research revealed that data breaches driven by identity theft have been costing the UK nearly £4 billion every year since 2013. With the value of personal data at a premium, and more accessible than ever, this worrying trend is only going to continue.

Where society evolves, crime follows, and the growth in Cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS) is perhaps an inevitable consequence of the ease at which criminals can find, purchase or ransom personal data and obtain sophisticated fraud products online.

The difficulty in tackling this type of insidious online fraud is that the perpetrators are largely unknown, and often undetectable, meaning that by the time a person knows their ID has been stolen, it’s too late.

However, there are several practical steps people can take to protect their identity from cyber-criminals.

Outsmarting the smartphone fraudsters

According to research conducted by digital identity specialists, GBG, nearly 1 in 10 smartphone users in the UK (9%) have been victim of identity fraud in the past twelve months (as at March 2022). With most of the population now owning a smartphone of some kind, we’re carrying a portal to cybercriminals, right in our pockets.

Phishing attacks via smartphone are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with WhatsApp frequently acting as the hunting ground for cyber criminals, there are a few ways to identify a potentially dangerous WhatsApp message. Look out for:

  • Suspicious links – as with most things in life, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, so don’t click on that link promising you a free pair of brand-new Nikes in return for completing a simple survey
  • Unknown numbers – it might be an old friend with a new number, or it could be a hacker who’s purchased or scraped your data from a website – if you don’t recognise the number, or profile photo, block and delete
  • Clickbait tactics – any message asking you to share personal information, or inviting you to click a link to activate new features is spam, don’t click on any links that arrive unsolicited

Outside of WhatsApp there are some other simple tactics you can deploy to keep your data safe on your phone:

  • Never reply to unsolicited text messages, even to get them stopped, simply delete them
  • Install antivirus software on your phone
  • Sign-up to the Telephone Preference Service to prevent marketing phone calls

Avoiding unsolicited click tricks

Online identity theft isn’t a new phenomenon, but fraudsters don’t go away when their tricks and techniques are exposed, they merely evolve ever-more sophisticated methods of stealing people’s data.  Computers can be targeted by fraudsters without us knowing, but there are some easy ways to shore up your cyber defences:

  • First and foremost, it’s important to keep any computer security programmes, such as antivirus and firewalls up-to-date, these play a critical role in identifying and blocking hackers trying to get into your computer. Also ensure that your web browser and operating systems are the latest version as these are likely to have the latest security patches added to protect your computer from vulnerabilities
  • Be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails as they may contain viruses or other programs that can harm your computer. Today’s phishing scams can be incredibly sophisticated, with emails that are virtually indistinguishable from legitimate senders, but pay careful attention to any spelling or grammar mistakes in the text, as well as the actual email address of the sender. If you’re unsure, do some additional research to verify the authenticity of the message, but if in doubt, block and delete the message

Online banking

Most banks now have online banking options, convenient for us to bank and purchase on the go, but even more convenient for fraudsters. Protect your identity, and hard-earned money, by paying attention to the following tips:

  • If you’re making a financial transaction online, make sure you’re on a secure site, these can be identified by the designation ‘https’ as the beginning of the website address, this indicates that the site is secure, further, a padlock should appear in either the bottom left, or right of your browser to denote the page is secure
  • If you get an email claiming to be from your bank, asking that you contact them, check whether it’s genuine. If you’re unsure, don’t click on any links in the email. Open another window in the browser and visit your bank’s website using your normal method

Though these measures can help you to avoid falling victim to identity fraud, they are not exhaustive. Our Personal Cyber and ID Fraud Insurance offers specialist legal advice and assistance to customers who suffer a cyber attack or are subject to ID fraud.

James Waddy, Head of Partnerships & Development, Arc Legal Group

For further details of our products and services, please contact your Partnerships Manager or email

In case you missed it..

Speak to an expert

We’re waiting to hear from you. Call, email or use our live chat service to find out how we can help you deliver market leading, tailored products and services to your customers.

0344 770 9000 Live chat