One fifth of all ID fraud aimed at renters

Experian helped over 14,400 victims recover from fraud in 2015

Nottingham, UK, 23 March 2016 – 2015 saw professional renters bear the biggest brunt of a surge in identity theft. One fifth (20%) of all attempted identity theft in the past year was aimed at young professionals in rented accommodation.

In particular, this group was the target for nearly a quarter (23.4%) of all attacks involving current accounts, which has been the biggest focus for fraudsters in 2015.

New research from Experian also reveals that fewer high net worth individuals fell victim to identity thieves in 2015, compared to 2014.

Affluent families living in prestigious areas, who tend to have high assets and investments, saw a significant drop in attempted identity fraud – from 10.7% in 2014 to 8.3% in 2015.  Well-off home owners in rural locations, who tend to be self-employed, also saw identity fraud attacks fall from 5.3% in 2014 to 3.8% in 2015. 

Nick Mothershaw at Experian comments: “Easily accessible, shared hallways can offer opportunities for those wanting to harvest personal details and these figures highlight the need for renters to be vigilant.  People in these shared blocks must remain aware of their finances and spot any irregularities that could be a sign of fraudulent activity.”

Regional analysis

ID theft continues to be a nationwide challenge affecting individuals from all parts of the UK.  While London remains the fraud capital of the country (28% of all first party fraud and 36% of all third party fraud) the inner-cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow have also been particularly vulnerable. The high density of professional renters in shared blocks of flats contributes to this, with personal details easily accessible in shared unsecured mail boxes and high rates of digital usage giving fraudsters more ways to steal a person’s identity.

Isolated pockets of fraud hotspots have been detected in the Highlands, Wales, Devon, Cornwall and Hampshire.  They reveal how ghost-brokers are using low-risk postcodes to illegally sell insurance.

Third-party fraud continues to be biased towards wealthier suburban areas – as clearly shown on this Greater London map, with virtually every commuter town around the M25 having disproportionately high levels of third-party fraud.

Last year, Experian’s Victims of Fraud (VOF) team helped almost 14,500 people reclaim their identity and restore their credit rating.  Set up over ten years ago to support those who discover their identity has been hijacked, the number of people Experian has helped has increased each year.

The typical person who contacted Experian’s VOF team last year was male (62% of victims), aged between 30 and 40 (32%), and lived in the South East of England. More than 38% of victims came from the London area.

Nick continues: “Fraud typically goes undetected for many months and when it’s discovered, most victims report feeling angry, confused and vulnerable. Many also feel anxious that their credit rating will plummet and with it any chances of qualifying for competitively priced credit.  It is important people know there is help available.”

 

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.
 
 
   
   
   

Experian’s interactive fraud dashboard provides the latest insight for those wishing to stay up to date. It is the first of its kind in the UK and shows fraud rates by financial product as well as regional hotspots and high profile fraud facts. Please visit the dashboard here

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

  • Nick Mothershaw is the UK&I Director of Identity and Fraud at Experian.
  • Information is based on 2015 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 our VOF team by emailing identityfraud@uk.experian.com or calling freephone 0800 0155 556.

 

Contact

Serj Hallam

Experian 

0115 9922773

serjeet.hallam@experian.com

 

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil. Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2015, was US$4.8 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit http://www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, ‘Inside Experian’.

 

About Experian’s Victims of Fraud service

Set up in 2004 to provide dedicated support to victims of identity fraud, the VOF team is on hand to give people expert advice and support to try to reduce the time and effort it can take for someone to reclaim their identity. Our expert advisers work with each victim to establish the full extent of the fraud and raise the alarm with all the lenders involved, Action Fraud (the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre) and the other credit reference agencies. We also advise people on any appropriate security measures they may wish to take, such as a Protective Registration warning through CIFAS, the fraud-prevention service. Our aim is to help reduce the stress and inconvenience fraud causes, especially by ensuring that any damage to the victim’s credit report is quickly corrected.