Current account fraud climbs as fraudsters target renters

Overall fraud rate increases, while analysis shows patterns on how tenants are targeted

UK, 8 May, 2018: Fraudulent current account applications have contributed to an overall rise in fraud, according to the latest fraud statistics from Experian.

Criminals were behind 159 in every 10,000 current account applications in 2017, up from 138 in 2016 – a rise of 13%. The rate of all frauds increased from 0.56% to 0.6% over the same period.

Renters are particularly vulnerable to fraudsters because their post is often left in communal areas or in mailboxes which can be easily accessed from the street. However, Experian’s figures show ‘a tale of two tenants’ with some more likely to be targeted than others.

The largest increase in third party fraud of any group over the last two years is among Transient Renters (up 2.97%), with current account fraud rising 4.82% against this group. They are mainly 18-25 years old, share private low-cost housing and move regularly. Peterborough, Darlington and Hull are among the locations with large groups of victims.

Yet fraud has decreased 4.85% over two years against people living in Rental Hubs, who are typically single, in their 20s and 30s and rent privately in cities and towns while early in their careers, or studying.

Peterborough is a hotspot for fraud for both groups of tenants, along with Hull, Grimsby and Luton. Meanwhile, locations in East Anglia such as Ipswich, Cambridge and Norwich are also common places for people living in Rental Hubs to fall victim to fraud.

Those in the Rental Hub space are also specifically targeted with 17.7% of all the UK card fraud, over and above their numbers as a demographic.

Nick Mothershaw, Director of Identity and Fraud Solutions at Experian, said: “Fraudsters know renters can be easy targets and seek out flats where post is left lying around in hallways or on stairs. Even locked mailboxes aren’t necessarily secure if a fraudster can fish the post out, or find a copy of the key.

“It’s easy to imagine how Transient Renters become victims of fraud. They tend to often change address and may find it hard to keep track of where their mail is being sent to. Fraudsters can take advantage of an old address knowing people won’t be monitoring their mail. Keeping an eye on the accounts on your credit report can help to foil fraudsters.”

Experian’s Hunter fraud statistics also show:

  • The elderly are becoming less of a target in recent years. There has been a 5.42% decline from 2014 to 2017 of third party fraud against those aged 60 and above.
  • By contrast, 20-24 year olds and 25-29 year olds have seen a 2.16% and 2.5% increase in third party fraud. Youngsters should be on their guard when it comes to automotive fraud, as the 25-29 and 30-24 age groups are the most targeted by this tactic.
  • Men remain more likely to become a victim of fraud, a consistent theme since 2014. Current account fraud affects men mostly, at 70% vs women’s 30%, and automotive fraud hits men rather than women 79% of the time. Third party insurance particularly fraud heavily targets men, with 93% of all cases.

What can people do to prevent being victims of ID fraud?

1.       Always shred or destroy documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.

2.       Never respond to cold phone calls or e-mails asking for account details, PINs, passwords or personal information.

3.       Don’t give too much away on networking websites. For example, pets’ names or children’s names could be used as passwords.

4.       Register to vote at your current address. If you don’t, thieves could use your previous address details to open new credit accounts, and run up debts in your name.

5.       Monitor your post regularly so you know when to expect important documents — and when to act if they don’t arrive.

6.       Redirect your mail via the Post Office if you move house.

7.       Always use secure, unique passwords for as many online accounts as possible, and ideally all of them. At the very least have a unique password for each type of service provider such as financial services, retail services and email.

8.       Don’t store account names and passwords on your smartphone, either in email, as a note, or to ‘autocomplete’ when you open a website or app.  It will be a goldmine for fraudsters if your device is lost or stolen.

9.       Read all bank and card statements regularly to check for suspicious transactions.

10.   Check your credit report, because it lists your credit accounts and what you owe, so you can spot applications and spending that are nothing to do with you.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Information is based on 2017 Experian fraud data. Experian works closely with National Hunter, the UK’s leading fraud prevention system, operated by Experian on behalf of members. It enables financial institutions to cross-match applications against more than 100 million previous application records in order to spot commonalities and anomalies that are potentially indicative of fraud for further investigation.

Once fraud is confirmed, people should contact Experian’s Victims of Fraud team by emailing identityfraud@uk.experian.com or calling 0800 0155 556.

Rental Hubs are defined by Experian’s Mosaic consumer classification solution as groups including: Singles and couples in their 20s and 30s progressing in their field of work from commutable properties; entertainment-seeking youngsters renting city centre flats in vibrant locations close to jobs and night life; Self-starting young renters ready to move to follow worthwhile incomes from service sector jobs; Singles renting affordable private flats away from central amenities and often on main roads; Inhabitants of the university fringe where students and older residents mix in cosmopolitan locations; and Students living in high density accommodation close to universities and educational centres.

Transient Renters include: Those yet to settle younger singles and couples making interim homes in low cost properties; Young people endeavouring to gain employment footholds while renting cheap flats and terraces; Younger hard-pressed singles in social housing with financial challenges; and Transient renters of low cost accommodation - often within subdivided older properties.

Media contact:

Ade O’Connor, PR Manager, Corporate & Business, UK&I, Experian

Tel: 07583 085 796 / Email: ade.o’connor@experian.com

Marlin PR for Experian:

Tel: 0207 932 5580 / Email: experian@marlinpr.com

About Experian

Experian® is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

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