Two out of three fraud cases in the UK involved identity theft, according to Blighty's Fraud Prevention Service, CIFAS.
Brits are reminded to guard their private data as closely as they guard their wallets and purses.
The new figures suggest fraud rose to a record level in the UK in 2012 as more and more crooks obtained people's personal details and used them to pocket ill-gotten gains. Of the 248,325 fraud cases reported last year, 65 per cent involved stolen identities.
Crims gathered this sensitive information by hacking victims' computers, intercepting letters or carrying out other scams. Armed with this sensitive data, the thieves would typically hijack bank accounts and siphon off cash, or masquerade as their victims by creating new accounts in their names to then rip off companies.
On the plus side, individuals using their own accounts to commit fraud was down by 15 percent.
Kate Beddington-Brown, a spokeswoman for CIFAS - a nonprofit that tracks crime figures to help businesses and the public sector prevent fraud, said organisations are now "ensuring extra steps are taken to validate the identity of people with whom they are dealing". In the meantime, make sure you look after your own privates yourself. ®