Incidences of personal data being stolen and sold online have soared by 230 per cent since 2007, according to new figures from fraud database firm Lucid Intelligence.
The company, which develops technology allowing users to check whether their data has been compromised and traded online, said in its annual report that, although the number of stolen credit cards being used online dropped slightly last year to 67,750, cyber criminals are shifting their attention to more sophisticated attacks.
"Phished, stolen or negligently sold personal data has become the basis for creating false identities that can be used to set up bank accounts, credit cards and loans," explained Lucid chief executive Colin Holder.
"With such a potentially high value 'end game', criminals are becoming more patient and persistent. We see 'card not necessary' fraud as the major threat as we enter the next decade."
Lucid also uncovered over 4,100 web sites leaking personal information into the public domain which criminals then exploit, and 3,113 new bank accounts being offered by internet criminals for money laundering.
Holder predicted that 2010 will see a greater trend towards 'card not necessary' fraud "unless the credit agencies take positive action".
He added that phishing and 419 scams are likely to continue, and that smaller, and therefore softer, targets in the banking world will increasingly be used for money laundering.